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The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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In the wake of the sometimes uneven live album In the Moment, Diane Reeves returns in exceptional form with a concept album, The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan. A tribute to one of jazz's legendary heroines, The Calling catches the many moods of the singer who became known simply as Sassy, delving into songs the jazz great popularized, including "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Send in the Clowns." On "Lullaby," Reeves summons Sassy's ghost with familiar phrasing and a majestic, powerful delivery. But it is on the lesser-known Vaughan numbers that Reeves really excels, making the standards her own. "Obsession" was recorded by Vaughan on her final album, 1987's Brazilian Romance. Reeves explores the emotional vehicle like an eagle, soaring grandly over surging orchestral accompaniment. Reeves then changes mood with an intimate cocktail version of "If You Could See Me Now" that includes a graceful piano solo by Mulgrew Miller. "I Remember Sarah" recalls the self-involved "The First Five Chapters" from Reeves's In the Moment album, but again, the outstanding full orchestra (featuring Billy Childs, Greg Hutchinson, Russell Malone, and George Duke) is so inspired and lush that it's impossible to remain unmoved. Reeves also offers a splendid, bopping, Afro Cuban version of "Fascinatin' Rhythm." Other Vaughan favorites include a lusciously swinging reading of "Key Largo," and a delightful take on "I Hadn't Anyone Till You," with Clark Terry humorously joining in. Again, this recalls Vaughan in her swinging, stunning prime. Reeves is obviously no Sarah Vaughan clone, but by surrounding herself with gloriously realized orchestral accompaniment and Sassy's indelible songs, she both pays respect and sets herself apart. --Ken Micallef
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 13, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000056NVB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,540 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Lovins HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 14, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Be prepared to have the thrill of your life, as Dianne Reeves takes -
"The Divine One" Sarah Vaughan to the next level. This is one awesome
tribute to an artist who had all the dynamics of what life had to
bring if you were a female singer during those troubled times.

Each one of these jewels spells the haughty or down-home, bossy or
shy, diva-like or painfully insecure, had it all and was really hard
when she had to be, maybe hardest on herself - Sarah Vaughan.
Only
one singer could do her justice - Dianne Reeves, who in her own right
has all the God-given-talent to stand tall in the studio, front of
this magnificent orchestra, delivering effortlessly on each track
flawless performances touching on every phase of Vaughan's
career.
Of course there are stand outs - "LULLABY OF
BIRDLAND" (George Shearing/Forster), classic tune and this
classic interpretation by Dianne..."SEND IN THE CLOWNS"
(Stephen Sondheim), Dianne and Billy Childs pay homage to Sarah
without imitating her, completely reconceived the song, slow dramantic
aria expressing Vaughan's darkest fears..."I HADN'T ANYONE 'TIL
YOU" (Ray Noble), Dianne's sly, sexy vocal, have the low-down
swing of Vaughan's (1981) recording with the Count Basie orchestra -
trumpeter Clark Terry, Dianne's early mentor - adds his familiar
"mumbles" and a one hot solo.
And the the highlight -
"SPEAK LOW" (Kurt Weill/Nash), sensual wordless opening,
completely mesmirizing with haunting over-tones that will stay with
you for a long time.
Read more ›
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This is an amazing CD - brilliant and heart-wrenching and powerful. From the very first song Dianne puts her unique spin on some of Sarah's best-loved songs, or songs she would've dug in a BIG way, and makes them her own. Dianne sings mostly full-throated, like Sassy - but her ever nimble voice is capable of a LOT more, and out it comes!
The band is magnificent as well. The imaginative arrangements by Billy Childs are reminiscent of Gil Evans's and Gerry Mulligan's work, and Childs takes reharmonization of the old "standards" to a thrilling new place. The two charts by Robert Freedman are fascinating as well - the chart for I HADN'T ANYONE 'TIL YOU being a Neil Hefti-inspired groove ala LIL' DARLIN'. I personally found Clark Terry's mumblings disruptive and unwarranted, but the more I listen, the more I can deal with it.
One could make the case that some of this doesn't really qualify as "jazz", since so much here is NOT improvised - especially the last cut, A CHAMADA, a wordless tone poem - but it sure is great MUSIC! This CD has my vote for Best CD of 2001, so far!!
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By A Customer on March 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
While Dianne Reeves is an exceptional singer (near flawless) and can "scat" perhaps better than "Sassy" herself, many of the arrangements on this album left me flat. One of the nicest things about listening to many of the great Sarah Vaughan recordings is that wonderful and intimate "live in the club" sound that even her studio recordings have. On "The Calling" many of the tunes were over processed by the studio, (even most of her breaths are edited out) and include excessive instrumentation that only gets in the way of Dianne Reeves wonderful voice. On some tunes her voice is actually buried by the orchestra's dynamics.
Some of the songs on this CD are not "fresh" or "innovative" versions of Sassy's music. For example, the arrangement of Sarah Vaughan's classic rendition of Lullaby of Birdland is a bit much. The arrangers approach to this tune was to simply take Sarah Vaughans intro scat riff as originally recorded, and literally beat it to death throughout the song. Alright, now everybody say bah ba bah ba bop bop bop do ahhh.....!!!! The CD's big band version of Sarah Vaughan's wonderful and intimate rendition of Key Largo did not do it for me either. Sassy recorded Key Largo with only two (2) instruments, Barney Kessel (guitar), and Joe Comfort (bass). If you like that tune seek out the record " Sarah Plus Two". It is wonderful.
On the tunes Fascinating Rhythm, and Embracable You, Dianne fights back and shows that she really is the one who deserves to wear "Sassy's Crown". On Fascinating Rhythm her scatting is true Sarah Vaughn. Dianne's intimate and romantic approach to Embracable You perhaps surpasses her.
While this CD does not "take Sarah Vaughan to the next level", as one reviewer said, it certainly rates among the best of what is available in jazz today. As a singer, I will always give Dianne Reeves five (5) stars, she is one of the best. The album gets three.
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Format: Audio CD
Dianne Reeves covers an astonishing range of moods and styles in this very impressive recording. Her incredible talent shines through on every song. Her inimitable scat on "Fascinatin' Rhythm" is worth the cost of the album, and the band came through with an inspired performance behind her.
If you are a died-in-the-wool devotee of Sarah Vaughan, as some of the other reviewers of the album obviously are, then you might be disappointed; but if you like great jazz, and are willing to listen with open ears to interesting takes on Sassy's repertoire, you will be delighted by this great work.
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