Sarah Vaughan Send in the Clowns

In the last jazz vocal album I posted (How Long Has This Been Going On), Sarah Vaughan was one member of a jazz quintet. While she got top billing, it was a band performance - with each artist getting equal emphasis.

On this album though - Sarah Vaughan is the star. And with no less than the Count Basie Orchestra plus her usual trio of George Gaffney on piano, Andy Simpkins on bass and Harold Jones on drums and augmented by the fabulous Freddie Green on guitar, 'Send in the Clowns' is just the wrong title. No clowns in this lineup!!

It should have in 'Send in the Stars' - with Sarah Vaughan as the Sun.

Recorded in 1981, just 3 years after HLHTBGO, Sarah is in exceptional voice, and on this album her rhythm is flawless - keeping up with the inventiveness of the Count Basie Orchestra is never easy. As the foundation to her singing, the Count Basie Orchestra is rock solid. What does come across on this album is that Vaughan as an interpreter of songs is playful and soulful, girlish and humorous, and inventive and unpredictable. It goes to prove that the nicknames given to her are both entirely appropriate - she is 'The Divine One' as well as 'Sassy'.

The big band provides the perfect fabric of sound and swing for the magnificent voice of Sarah Vaughan. Engineered by Dennis Sands, the sound is also magnificent - not an easy feat considering that besides Sassy and her four-man rhythm section, there were 5 trumpets, 4 trombones and 5 saxophones!

An album I treasure, and play over and over again. Come to think of it, I'd better grab another copy before you buy them all!! Like HLHTBGO, there is an extremely rare Japanese JVC XRCD2 re-issue and this is the digital version to get.

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