Ernie Royal, Bernie Glow, trumpets;
J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, trombones;
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Sam
Marowitz, alto saxes;
Jerome Richardson, flute, tenor sax;
Jimmy Jones, piano;
Turk Van Lake, guitar;
Joe Benjamin, bass;
Roy Haynes, drums.
Conducted by Ernie Wilkins Recorded October25, 1955.
1 OVER THE RAINBOW (Yip Harburg/Harold Arlen)3:28
and Ira Gershwin)2:34
3 CHEROKEE (Ray
4 I'LL NEVER SMILE AGAIN (Ruth Lawe) 2:34
5 DON'T BE ON THE OUTSIDE (Sydney Wyche/Mayme Watts/George Kelly) 2:59
6 HOW HIGH THE MOON (Nancy Hamilton/Morgan Lewis)2:35
7 IT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN TO A DREAM (Dan George/Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges)3:18
8 SOMETIMES I'M HAPPY (lrving Caesar/Clifford Grey/Vincent Youmans)2:56
9 MAYBE (George
and Ira Gershwin) 2:31
10 AN OCCASIONAL MAN (Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane)2:30
11 WHY CAN'T I (Richard
Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) 2:54
12 OH MY (Joe
The glorious voice of Sarah Vaughan has been
heard in every setting from a small rhythm combo to a full string
ensemble, but the accompaniment on these sides is something new.
Ernie Wilkins was the arranger and conductor for the big,
swinging band on the three sessions recorded in November, 1955.
There were four trumpets (Ernie Royal played some of the lead),
four trombones (including a noted two-trombone team), and a five
man saxophone section in which the featured soloist is Julian
"Cannonball" Adderley, the Florida flash, who flew
north with alto under arm especially to take part on these dates.
The rhythm section comprises Sarah's usual sidekicks, pianist
Jimmy Jones, drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Joe Benjamin, with a
guitarist added in the person of Turk Van Lake.
That the music provided for this stellar line up is worthy of
Sarah's and the musicians' talents should come as no surprise to
anyone familiar with Ernie Wilkins' contribution to the modern
music scene. Born in 1922 in St. Louis, he studied at Wilberforce
University, then spent three years in the Navy, most of this time
being devoted to the great all-star band stationed at Great
Lakes, with Clark Terry, Willie Smith, Gerald Wilson and a number
of others who later achieved fame with name bands.
After leaving the Navy, Ernie worked with George Hudson, Earl
Hines and Count Basie. He left Basie early in 1955 to stay in New
York and concentrate on free-lance arranging, mainly for Basie,
the Dorsey Brothers and for various recording dates.
His work for this Sarah Vaughan session illustrates how firmly
the roots of his work are planted in jazz soil, for the band
swings consistently, not only in the overall ensemble and in the
rhythm section feeling, but in the writing for the variously
voiced horns behind Sarah.
The incredible Sassy is at her most astonishing at this session.
Bending the melodies to her unique individual conception,
swooping up for unexpected high notes, soaring in for fabulous
top-register endings, she demonstrates her uncanny flair for
vocal calisthenics to an unprecedented degree.
Some of the material will be familiar, though a couple of the
tunes are lesser-known old songs, while two or three are 1955
compositions that happen to fit her style well enough to have
earned permanent preservation between LP covers. Over the Rainbow is about as un-Judy Garland-like
as you might expect, notice the ingenious repetitious use of the
"blue" in "bluebirds" during the final eight
bars, and the beautiful tonal quality achieved through the whole
performance. Soon, one of two well known standard songs by this
title, is the George and Ira Gershwin number, written in 1929,
taken at a
medium-swing pace. Ray Noble's Cherokee, almost
always done as an instrumental nowadays, gets its first female
vocal treatmen (The lyric was changed by special permission from
the publisher.) The only interruption occurs when Sarah lets
Cannonball take over for one exciting chorus. Don't Be On The Outside is a new song with a 12-bar
main phrase in which Sarah wails with a wonderful beat. I'll
Never Smile Again, made famous some 16 years ago by Tommy
Dorsey's version, is one of the prettiest items in this
collection. How High The Moon is Sarah's first recorded version
of the tune that practically became the national anthem of the
modern jazz movement back when Sarah, Dizzy and Charlie Parker
were pioneering in the mid- 940s. Cannonball takes a great
chorus; then, wearing earphones to enable him to hear Sarah's
voice (isolated in a booth for the session) he can be heard in a
unique and delightful series of four-bar "chases" with
Sarah. Once again the amazing high-note technique of Miss V.
leaves you just about breathless. This is certainly one of the
most unusual and memorable versions of How High ever
recorded. It Shouldn't Happen To A Dream is a fine Duke
Ellington tune of a few years ago, written in collaboration with
Johnny Hodges and lyricist Don George. Ernie's backgrounds with
muted brass, saxes and piano ingeniously interwoven are
especially effective. Sometimes I'm Happy gets a bright tempoed
treatment; Maybe, a song by the Gershwins dating
from 1926, is melodiously revived. An Occasional Man, with
its witty lyric and catchy melody, is a 1955 product of the
well-established firm of Hugh Martin and Ralph Blanc, heard in
the movie TheGirl Rush. Why Can 't I is a Rodgers and
Hart song of 1929, sung superbly and leading to another
incredible last note on a high F. Finally there's Oh My!.
a clever novelty by west coast songsmith Joe Greene, with a Latin
rhythm touch and some Jerome Richardson Ilute in the background.
As you've probably gathered by now, this is
quite a set - even by Sarah's own altissimo standards.