Sarah Vaughan How Long Has This Been Going On?

How Long Has This Been Going On? Is an album that Sarah Vaughan recorded late in life - when she was 54 years old. By then, her voice had matured into a throaty richness. She was discovered 36 years earlier - winning an amateur contest singing at the Apollo Theater in NYC when she was 18. Her prize was $10 and a week's engagement at the theater. That engagement resulted in her opening for Ella Fitzgerald, being discovered by Earl Hines.

Over 30 years later, she fell out of favor and lost her manager in the early '70s. After a 3 year hiatus, Vaughan signed with Norman Granz and Pablo Records in 1977 - which resulted in another one of my all-time favorite vocal jazz records. At this time, Granz managed many of the great jazz artists. The line-up on this album was stellar - besides Vaughan, we had Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass, Joe Pass on guitar, and Louie Bellson on drums.

What I love about this album is that it is not an album with Sarah Vaughan plus accompanying instrumentalists. It is a jazz performance where each and every musician contributed equally and played off one another. On this album, Vaughan's voice is played as an instrument - much more so than Ella Fitzgerald's on another of my favorite vocal jazz albums. Listen to side 2 track 2 - My Old Flame - just Sarah and Joe Pass on guitar and it's almost operatic and hypnotic.

On CD, the JVC XRCD is quite amazingly good and one of my recommendations for excellent digital. The original 1978 LP release on Pablo is also still quite easily found. As far as I know, the LP has not been re-issued.

Mono & Stereo friend Gary Koh of Genesis Advanced Technologies, Inc.