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Sarah Vaughan (1954 album)

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Sarah Vaughan, sometimes incorrectly referred to as Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown, is a 1954 jazz album featuring Grammy Award winning singer Sarah Vaughan and influential trumpeter Clifford Brown, released on the EmArcy label. It was the only collaboration between the pair. Well received, though not without some criticism, the album was Vaughan's own favorite among her works through 1980.[1] The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.[2]

Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedDecember 18, 1954 (1954-12-18)
GenreVocal jazz
ProducerBob Shad
Sarah Vaughan chronology
The Divine Sarah Sings
Sarah Vaughan
In the Land of Hi-Fi

The album has been re-released on CD and LP many times, with its original nine-track listing and with an additional track. In 2005, the album was reissued under the title Complete Recordings with Clifford Brown by Lone Hill Records with 18 tracks.


Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [3]

Sarah Vaughan was overwhelmingly a critical success. In Bebop: The Best Musicians and Recordings, jazz commentator Scott Yanow notes simply of the album that "[e]verything works", making of it an "essential acquisition".[4] Ink Blot Magazine, characterizing this as one of Vaughan's "jazziest" albums, describes it also as one of her greatest.[5] In its review, All Music states that "Vaughan is arguably in the best voice of her career here" and praises Brown for "displaying his incredible bop virtuosity", indicating that "[i]n whichever incarnation it's reissued, Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown is one of the most important jazz-meets-vocal sessions ever recorded,"[6] although All Music is incorrect in suggesting that the album was retitled; Brown's name has been highlighted on some reissues of the album since 1990 although most reissues duplicate the original album cover. The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz, also praising Brown's "brilliant" trumpeting, delves into Vaughan's vocal stylings in detail, encouraging listeners of the album to note how "sometimes she stretches out a song so deliberately and so reconfigures its melody, that the lyrics lose sense, linguistic phrasing having been replaced by musical phrasing".[7] Blackwell author Barry Dean Kernfeld opines that "[i]t is perhaps this pure devotion to the exploration of sound that has made her such a favourite of jazz listeners".[7] In Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings, New York Times jazz commentator Ben Ratliff placed the album as among Vaughan's best, indicating that the recording session seemed among those blessed sessions where "even middle-level musicians can sound like gods".[8]The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested "Core Collection," stating "it is very difficult to find any flaw in what should be recognized as one of the great jazz vocal records," and awarded it "crown" status.[9]

But even while praising the album, some critics found elements of fault. Ratliff expresses distaste for the album's "shizy moments, when...[Vaughan] rockets between hoity-toity...and so blues-singer earthy, in certain low-register moments, that she approaches vulgarity".[10] A contemporaneous review in the music magazine Metronome lamented that "Sarah sounds like an imitation of herself, sloppy, affected and so concerned with sound that she forgets that she is a singer, forgets the lyric of the song itself to indulge in sounds that are meaningless." [11] Kernfeld suggests that Herbie Mann is a weak element amongst the otherwise strong ensemble, "completely overmatched".[7]

Track listingEdit

  1. "Lullaby of Birdland" (George Shearing, George David Weiss) – 4:06[12]
  2. "April in Paris" (Vernon Duke, E.Y. "Yip" Harburg) – 6:26
  3. "He's My Guy" (Gene de Paul, Don Raye) – 4:17
  4. "Jim" (Caesar Petrillo, Edward Ross, Nelson Shawn) – 5:56
  5. "You're Not the Kind" (Will Hudson, Irving Mills) – 4:48
  6. "Embraceable You" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 4:54
  7. "I'm Glad There Is You" (Jimmy Dorsey, Paul Mertz) – 5:14
  8. "September Song" (Maxwell Anderson, Kurt Weill) – 5:50
  9. "It's Crazy" (Dorothy Fields, Richard Rodgers) – 5:01

Additional tracks on Complete Recordings with Clifford BrownEdit

  1. "Lullaby of Birdland" (partial alternative take) (Shearing, Weiss) – 3:58[6][13]
  2. "Lover Man" (Jimmy Davis, Ram Ramirez, James Sherman) – 3:18[14]
  3. "Shulie a Bop" (George Treadwell, Sarah Vaughan) – 2:41
  4. "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen) – 2:35
  5. "Body and Soul" (Frank Eyton, Johnny Green, Edward Heyman, Robert Sour) – 3:14
  6. "They Can't Take That Away from Me" (Gershwin, Gershwin) – 2:43
  7. "You Hit the Spot" (Mack Gordon, Harry Revel) – 3:02
  8. "If I Knew Then (What I Know Now)" (Eddy Howard, Dick Jurgens) – 2:30





  1. ^ Gourse, Leslie (1994). Sassy: The Life of Sarah Vaughan. DeCapo Press. p. 78. ISBN 0-306-80578-2.
  2. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame Award, Past Recipients Retrieved on 2008-05-31.
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ Yanow, Scott (2000). Bebop: The Best Musicians and Recordings. Backbeat Books. pp. 182–183. ISBN 0-87930-608-4.
  5. ^ Greilsamer, Marc. Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown Retrieved on 2008-05-31.
  6. ^ a b Sarah Vaughan at AllMusic
  7. ^ a b c Kernfeld, Barry Dean (1995). The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz. Blackwell Publishing. p. 334. ISBN 0-631-19552-1.
  8. ^ Ratliff, Ben (2000). Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings. New York Times Essential Library. MacMillan. p. 90. ISBN 0-8050-7068-0.
  9. ^ Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2006) [1992]. "Sarah Vaughan". The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (8th. ed.). New York: Penguin. p. 1325. ISBN 0-14-102327-9.
  10. ^ Ratliff, 91.
  11. ^ Coss, Bill (June 1955). "Sarah Vaughan". Metronome Magazine. 71, No. 6: 32.
  12. ^ Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (original) at AllMusic
  13. ^ Additional track on some re-issues.
  14. ^ Complete Recordings with Clifford Brown at AllMusic

External linksEdit