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Aural Pleasure Review

Sarah Vaughan: 'Divine: The Jazz Albums, 1954-1958'

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She was known as Sassy, sometimes Salty (for her “colorful” vocabulary.) But Verve Select wisely picked her most telling nickname for this fantastic collection. This four-year stretch was in many ways a tale of two Vaughans — the pop star belting standards over 50-piece orchestras, and the vivacious singer sitting in with some of jazz’s top players. Wisely, Divine cuts the schmaltzy commercial material in favor of the swinging small group tracks. At well over five hours of material, the collection certainly is a lot to digest. But as a portrait of an artist at the peak of her powers, Divine delivers.

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