Possessing one of the finest singing voices of the 20th century, Sarah Vaughan was already an established solo star when she signed with Mercury Records in 1954, and between then and 1958, she recorded pop material on the label's main imprint and jazz material on the subsidiary EmArcy Records, although there was some overlap between the two. This lovingly conceived box set collects all of the jazz sessions Vaughan did under the Mercury umbrella during this stay (she returned to the label for a second run between 1963 and 1967) spread over four discs, including Images, originally released as a 10" and then reissued as a full LP with the addition of five more cuts as Swingin' Easy, the self-titled Sarah Vaughan (with Clifford Brown, Herbie Mann, and Paul Quinichette), In the Land of Hi-Fi (with Cannonball Adderley), a live set, Sarah Vaughan & Her Trio at Mister Kelly's (with a dozen tracks added that had previously only been available on a Japanese import), After Hours at the London House (with Count Basie's horn section), and No Count Sarah (which featured Count Basie's full band but not Basie himself, thus the title). It all adds up to an impressive four years for Vaughan, and with the pop stuff mostly filtered out, this collection allows the focus to fall squarely on her buoyant phrasing as she defines and enriches a classic set of jazz standards. Few ever did it better.
Verve / Universal Music Group Art Director: Vartan