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Sarah + 2
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Those who many, many times have said that Sarah couldn't interpret lyrics are also in for a surprise.
Daring, startling, innovative, creative, are just a few of the words that come to mind when one thinks of the risk it represents for a jazz singer to do an album with bass and electric guitar only,like in this case. However, the format works wonders by giving her a minimal support that allows to showcase her fireworks.
You'll apply the above adjectives as well when you hear Sarah's rhythmic and melodic inventions, always in perfect time, always within the harmony but at the same time revealing hidden corners of it, always adding an unsuspected hue to the song.
Her Just in Time is anthological, just like that incredible When Sunny Gets Blue. You won't find, and I mean this, a better lyrics readings and a better musical approach for these two songs. As good as, maybe, but not better, I swear.
The same happens with more or less the rest of the tracks. Each of them has a special something that keeps the listener on his toes.
Being an inveterate Sarah admirer, but very much aware of her ugly excesses in certain years in her career, I hereby recommend this album. You won't be sorry because you'll agree with me.
Mostly standards in which Vaughan's phrasing gives new meanings to the lyrics, the CD is a thrilling opportunity to study Vaughan's rich voice. The bass and the guitar are barely there, adding just enough beat to keep the songs interesting and just enough musical variation to suggest new harmonies. The songs, almost entirely slow ballads, are clearly in Vaughan's style, though they lack the flights of jazzy innovation and improvisation for which she was famous in her later career. Instead, she sings "pure," keeping the attention focused on the lyrics and the story within them.
Among the highlights here are "Key Largo," a song of emptiness in which Vaughan has only her dreams for company. In "Just Squeeze Me," she is flirty and sexy, responding to a good beat with a few variations from the score. "All or Nothing at All," tells of a woman who wants it all, a gorgeous rendering in which she holds her notes for long measures.Read more ›
That said, I still think that After Hours, her first recording to feature the same "bass and guitar only" accompaniment - was superior.
Although it was a studio recording, After Hours was recorded late into the night in front of a private audience of some of Ms. Vaughan's closest friends in New York - which seems to capture a certain wistful subtlety that hits where Sarah + 2 misses. Sarah + 2 was recorded a couple of years later in a larger L.A. studio that had better sound quality, but a different mood. Don't get me wrong - I can't take anything away from the performance or musicianship of Sarah + 2. It simply captures a different feel than its predecessor did. Either way, Sarah + 2 is still a must have for any fan of Sarah who prefers hearing her without the lush, orchestral backdrop that dominated many of her commercial recordings of that era.
Some of Sarah's other stand out small group recordings include "Sarah Vaughan and Clifford Brown" and "Swingin Easy" -both of which were recorded for Mercury's Emarcy label in the 50's.
For those of you who enjoy other fine Jazz vocalists in a minimal setting, Ella Fitzgerald's "The Intimate Ella" featuring Ella's voice backed by no more than Paul Smiths lovely piano, is also a gem.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sarah's voice on this CD is more than a voice. It is an instrument in the set. This is a remarkable recording. I'm going to keep it forever and indicate to my friends.Published 20 months ago by Marco Paiva
perhaps the best record of sarah vaughan and the title of an other would be also usefull : after hours i am glad of having find the cd( gt-paris)Published on February 27, 2013 by Trastour Guy
Truly one of the greatest jazz recordings of all time. Barney Kessel's comping is without peer, Sarah's voice is amazing, and the song selections are wonderful to boot. Read morePublished on February 8, 2011 by coolvinny
Rightly considered another intimate gem in Sarah's discography (recorded after the seminal "After Hours" album), "Sarah plus two" gives Vaughan another chance to show the splendour... Read morePublished on March 18, 2009 by Nikica Gilic
Excellent CD, Sarah was one of my favorite singers and I still enjoy listening to her songs. ThanksPublished on December 22, 2008 by H. Shelton