Sarah Vaughan – The Divine One – Roulette/ Pure Pleasure PPAN SR52060 – stereo audiophile vinyl (1960) ****:

(Artists include: Sarah Vaughan – vocals; Jimmy Jones – piano, arranger, producer; Harry “Sweets” Edison – trumpet)

Sarah Vaughan recorded The Divine One in 1960 just after signing with the Roulette label. The LP is composed primarily of ballad standards with the exception of “Ain’t No Use,” an R & B torch song first recorded by the inimitable Big Maybelle.

This LP has been re-issued by the audiophile reissue English label PurePleasure, and has been remastered by their ace engineer, Ray Staff, at Air Mastering in London. It’s a labor of love as it demonstrates “Sassy” in prime form in 1960, as being the only singer comparable to Ella Fitzgerald for the title of “queen of jazz vocal supremacy.”

There is not a weak track here. “Ain’t No Use” deeply moves, and Sweets Edison’s burnished backing is icing on the cake. Sarah still had the lightness of tone at the time that later changed to a lower register as she aged. “Everytime I See You” again is enhanced by Edison’s muted trumpet with the presently unknown members of the backing orchestra not intruding into the mix.

“You Stepped Out of a Cloud” has Sarah soaring over the band effortlessly. “Gloomy Sunday” backed by guitar and trumpet, explores the somber theme with tragic overtones, bringing to mind Lady Day. “Jump for Joy” has Vaughan at her best brimming with elation on this gospel swinger. “When Your Lover Has Gone” takes a visit to the tropics complete with percussive bongos. “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” is putty in the hands (and voice…) of Sarah as she covers the lyrics spanning a range of octaves with ease. “Somebody Else’s Dream” is a trifecta of delights with Jimmy Jones’ piano comping, and Harry’s trumpet fills aiding Vaughan’s glorious voice.

Fans of Sarah Vaughan are in for a treat with this magnificently remastered gem recorded with sublime arrangements by Jimmy Jones.

TrackList:

Side A: 
Have You Met Miss Jones?, Ain’t No Use, Every Time I See You, You Stepped Out of a Dream, Gloomy Sunday, What Do You See in Her
Side B:
Jump for Joy, When Your Lover Has Gone, I’m Going to Laugh You Out of My Life, Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams,Somebody Else’s Dream, Trouble Is a Man

—Jeff Krow