Sarah Vaughan and Her Trio – Swingin’ Easy {Mercury}

Review by Ken Dryden (

Swingin’ Easy is one of Sarah Vaughan’s lesser known albums for Emarcy, combining two separate trio sessions from 1954 and 1957. The earlier date includes pianist John Malachi (who also worked with singers like Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine, and Al Hibbler, plus bassist Joe Benjamin and drummer Roy Haynes. Vaughan’s lush ballad technique is in full force in “Lover Man,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” and “Body and Soul,” while she scats in a midtempo setting of “If I Knew Then (What I Knew Now)” and her own “Shulie a Bop.” The second trio include pianist Jimmy Jones, bassist Richard Davis, and Haynes. Aside from a brisk, miniature treatment of “Linger Awhile” and a playful setting of “I Cried for You,” the session is highlighted by a breezy “All of Me.” Vaughan is in terrific form throughout both dates, with the songs mostly running around the three-minute mark. This CD is well worth acquiring, though it is out of print.

01 – Shulie a Bop
02 – Lover Man
03 – I Cried for You
04 – Polka Dots and Moonbeams
05 – All of Me
06 – Words Can’t Describe
07 – Prelude to a Kiss
08 – You Hit the Spot
09 – Pennies from Heaven
10 – If I Knew Then (What I Know Now)
11 – Body and Soul
12 – They Can’t Take That Away from Me
13 – Linger Awhile

Sarah Vaughan – vocals
John Malachi, Jimmy Jones – piano
Joe Benjamin, Richard Davis – bass
Roy Haynes – drums

Recorded April 2, 1954 & February 14, 1957; in New York.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown {Emarcy}

Review by John Bush (
This 1954 studio date, a self-titled album recorded for Emarcy, was later reissued as Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown to denote the involvement of one of the top trumpeters of the day. Vaughan sings nine intimate standards with a band including Brown on trumpet, Herbie Mann on flute, and Paul Quinichette on tenor, each of which have plenty of space for solos (most of the songs are close to the five-minute mark). Vaughan is arguably in the best voice of her career here, pausing and lingering over notes on the standards “April in Paris,” “Jim,” and “Lullaby of Birdland.” As touching as Vaughan is, however, Brown almost equals her with his solos on “Lullaby of Birdland,” “Jim,” and “September Song,” displaying his incredible bop virtuosity in a restrained setting without sacrificing either the simple feeling of his notes or the extraordinary flair of his choices. Quinichette’s solos are magnificent as well, his feathery tone nearly a perfect match for Vaughan’s voice. Ironically though, neither Brown nor Quinichette or Mann appear on the album’s highlight, “Embraceable You,” which Vaughan performs with close accompaniment from the rhythm section: Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. Vaughan rounds the notes with a smile and even when she’s steeping to reach a few low notes, she never loses the tremendous feeling conveyed by her voice. In whichever incarnation it’s reissued, Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown is one of the most important jazz-meets-vocal sessions ever recorded.

01 – Lullaby of Birdland 04:02
02 – September Song 05:47
03 – I’m Glad There is You 05:11
04 – You’re Not the Kind 04:46
05 – Jim 05:53
06 – He’s My Guy 04:14
07 – April in Paris 06:23
08 – It’s Crazy 04:58
09 – Embraceable You 04:51
10 – Lullaby of Birdland (alternate) 03:59

Sarah Vaughan – vocals
Clifford Brown – trumpet
Ernie Wilkins – arranger, conductor
Paul Quinichette – tenor sax
Herbie Mann – flute
Jimmy Jones – piano
Joe Benjamin – bass
Roy Haynes – drums

Recorded December 16 & 18, 1954; New York.

Label: Emarcy
Year: 1990
Genre: Jazz
Style: Vocal Jazz, Standards
Total Time: 50:03

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork