JazzTimes (10/96, p.117) - "...Although the leader's seat at the piano was filled by Kirk Stuart, Sarah's accompanist at the time, the band still functioned in its most professional mode..."
Personnel: Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams (vocals); Frank Foster (arranger, tenor saxophone); Thad Jones (arranger, trumpet); Ernie Wilkins (arranger); Frank Wess (alto & tenor saxophones, flute); Marshall Royal (alto saxophone, clarinet); Billy Mitchell (tenor saxophone); Charlie Fowlkes (baritone saxophone, flute); Sonny Cohn, Joe Newman, Snooky Young (trumpet); Henry Coker, Al Grey, Benny Powell (trombone); Kirk Stuart (piano); Freddie Green (guitar); Eddie Jones (bass); Sonny Payne (drums).
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York, New York in July 1960 and January 1961. Includes liner notes by James Gavin.
While this album is misleadingly titled (Count Basie doesn't appear on the record at all--the piano is actually played by Kirk Stuart), it's a brilliant teaming of the Count Basie Orchestra and the legendary Sarah Vaughan. Basie's legacy was largely due to his band leading skills, and he rarely featured himself on record or in concert; to hear the sound and approach that Basie's sidemen use is to hear the musical conception and style of Basie himself.
"Perdido" and "Alone" showcase Sarah Vaughan's incredible range and perfectly controlled vibrato, and "Teach Me Tonight" and "If I Were a Bell" feature Vaughan with Joe Williams, the latter featuring the two singing icons trading lyrics back and forth. Marked by wonderful Thad Jones arrangements, COUNT BASIE AND SARAH VAUGHAN swings hard, and melts the heart.
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