1972 Case File #86.

Sarah Vaughan, Feelin’ Good

File Between: Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone

Comments: Of all the classic jazz vocalists of the swing era, Sarah Vaughan was perhaps the most purely talented. Billie had her blues, Ella had her sonority, Dinah had her attitude, but Sarah had her voice. But that was, in pop terms, a generation ago. She was only 48 when she cut this record, but she couldn’t take the flights she did in the magical 40s and burning 50s; so she trades her supernatural flexibility for a more restrained subtlety, showing off in the corners, with delicious phrasing. The music mostly doesn’t live up to her, though; nothing even approaches the psychedelia of the cover, of course, but the AM-pop doldrums conjured by the tracklist — Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally),” the Bee Gees’ “Run To Me,” the Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays,” Dusty Springfield’s “Just A Little Lovin'” — is only confirmed by standard easy-listening arrangements which feature a Muzaky flute far too prominently on many cuts. The highlight of the set is a Michel Legrand-produced “Deep In The Night,” which at least lets Sarah get a little bluesy, and I’m guessing was probably an outtake from the other record she cut in 1972, a  full-on Legrand collaboration. (I have it; I’ll get to it.) Still, even if the arrangements are a little too straightforward pop, it couldn’t possibly be  a bad thing when the primary record it brings to mind is Dusty in Memphis.

A Keeper? It’s Sarah Fucking Vaughan. You should be ashamed of yourself for even asking the question.

Vinyl Rip: Deep In The Night

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