16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Less is more,
This review is from: After Hours (Audio CD)
These sessions, recorded in 1961, have spare arrangements for guitar (Mundell Lowe), bass (George DuVivier) and voice. They are almost all slow, sinuous ballads, except for Cole Porter's "Easy to Love," that swings with its walking bass, and "Great Day," with its hyperkinetic bass line and gymnastic improvisation by the great Miss Sarah (contrast this version with the big band sound on the "Benny Carter Sessions," and I think you will feel this version is more virtuosic and swings more, even with only two accompanying musicians.) The album does have a quiet "after hours" feel. It's 2:00 am, just you and your honey are left in the place, and Sarah is staying late just to sing to you.
The really wonderful thing about these arrangements is how they allow you to just luxuriate in the peerless, sensuous pleasure of Sarah Vaughan's voice. She is given great freedom here to display her phrasing, dynamic control and nuance. Her rhythmic interplay with the guitar and bass is intricate, subtle, effortless, masterful.
I didn't care for the version of "My Favorite Things." It's not just that I'm hopelessly spoiled for life on this one by Coltrane's renditions. This version just sounded kind of straight and tedious to me, with no real interest to the phrasing or rhythmic treatment. But even that song features Sarah's matchless voice. And all the other songs are gems.
I think this is the most intimate of Sarah Vaughan's records. Its subtlety rewards careful listening. Play it at home with your honey. After hours.