Sarah Vaughan & Her Trio: Swingin’ Easy

Vinyl reissue adds bonus tracks to the singer's mid-late 50s album with John Malachi, Jimmy Jones, Richard Davis, Joe Benjamin and Roy Haynes

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Very easy, in fact. With her glorious, wide-ranging voice and strong phrasing she was one of the best jazz singers of all time. This set is made up of the original EmArcy album plus one short take, Linger Awhile, that never reached the original LP and four tracks from Mister Kelly’s club in Chicago that weren’t on the album At Mister Kelly’s. They are all gems of modern jazz singing with her regular trio at the time of Jones, Davis and Haynes or Malachi, Benjamin and Haynes.

Side one of this set kicks off with Shulie A Bop where Vaughan scat sings through her own bop lyrics and then introduces her pianist, bassist and drummer who all solo briefly. Lover Man is an old favourite that she sang frequently from the 1940s onwards. Her pure voice and perfect pitch make this a high-quality ballad reading.

Four tracks from the 1957 session have a superior rhythm team of Jones, Davis and Haynes. All are accomplished and tasteful accompanists. All Of Me is highly suitable for Sarah’s bop singing style and she takes it in her stride, switching to inventive scatting half was through. Body And Soul provides the material for another seamless ballad reading although she does increase the tempo at one point and improvises on the lyric.

As said, the four tracks from Mister Kelly’s club in Chicago are not on the original LP but are good, solid tracks. She seldom recorded with just a trio supporting her, but it obviously suited her style of singing very well. On They Can’t Take That Away From Me she swings it gently throughout and on “the way you sing off key” she sings off-key, Not many vocalists could do that and convince the audience it was deliberate. The live tracks indicate how well she performed in an intimate setting and how well she played with and to the audience.

Discography
(1) Shulie A Bop; Lover Man; (2) I Cried For You; (1) Polka Dots And Moonbeams; (2) All Of Me; Words Can’t Describe: (1) Prelude To A Kiss; You Hit The Spot (23.08) – (2) Pennies From Heaven; (1) If I Knew Then; Body And Soul; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; (2) Linger Awhile; (3) I Cover The Waterfront; Embraceable You; I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter; Dancing In The Dark (25.12)
Vaughan (v) with:
(1) John Malachi (p); Joe Benjamin (b); Roy Haynes (d). NYC, 2 April 1954.
(2) Jimmy Jones (p); Richard Davis (b); Haynes (d). 14 February 1957.
(3) as (2) but Chicago, 6-8 August 1957.
Supper Club 045