A new section exclusive for our jazz messengers customers. Scott Yanow, top jazz journalist and writer, and one of the most prolific jazz record reviewers in history, reviews exclusively for Jazz Messengers a selection of new releases. A very reliable source for a glimpse of what is worth having in your shelf!

Wes Montgomery - In The Beginning

Scott yanow

The great guitarist Wes Montgomery was part of Lionel Hampton’s orchestra during 1948-50 (mostly playing rhythm in the background) before moving back to his hometown of Indianapolis Indiana. During the next eight years he played locally, worked a day job, and helped raise his family. Montgomery made a few recordings during 1957-58 and then became prominent in jazz when he signed with the Rivers...

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Ben Wolfe - The Whisperer

Scott yanow

Ben Wolfe is a skilled bassist who spent five years working with Harry Connick Jr. He has since had associations with Diana Krall, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Benny Green, Branford Marsalis, James Moody and Eric Reed among others. While he has mostly worked as a sideman, he has recorded several intriguing and high-quality CDs as a leader. The Whisperer has Wolfe at the head o...

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Freddie Redd - Music For You

Scott yanow

Freddie Redd has had a long and episodic career. 86 at the time of Music For You, the pianist worked in New York at the tail-end of the bebop era. He toured Europe in 1956 with Ernestine Anderson and trumpeter Rolf Ericson and had success in the late 1950s when he composed the music for the play The Connection. He appeared in the 1961 film and recorded the music for Blue Note. Redd spent a deca...

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Gene Ammons & Brother Jack McDuff - Complete Recordings

Scott yanow

Gene Ammons was equally skilled at bebop and soul jazz. His large soulful tone and ability to caress melodies made him a natural for bluesy jazz, early r&b and ballads, but he could also hold his own with Sonny Stitt on bebop jams. The son of the great boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons, Gene Ammons was on his way to being a giant when he was one of the main soloists with Billy Eckstine’s ...

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Johnny Coles - The Warm Sound

Scott yanow

Johnny Coles was an excellent hard bop trumpeter who had his own sound. He did not gain that much recognition during his lifetime and only led four albums of his own but he was always pretty distinctive. The Warm Sound from 1961 was Coles’ first record as a leader, showcasing him in a quartet with bassist Peck Morrison, drummer Charles Persip and either Kenny Drew or Randy Weston on...

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Oscar Peterson - Plays The George Gershwin Song Book

Scott yanow

One of the greatest jazz pianists of all time and one who could outswing just about anyone else, Oscar Peterson recorded scores of rewarding albums during his very productive career. He made his first recordings in his native Montreal in 1945. In 1949 after being heard by producer Norman Granz, Peterson was brought to the United States where he was a surprise guest at a Jazz At The Philharmonic...

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Art Tatum/Benny Carter/Louie Bellson - Trio

Scott yanow

 Art Tatum was such a remarkable piano virtuoso that it was said in his lifetime that other musicians could not play with him. Actually that was never true although Tatum spent much of his career as a soloist. He did lead a piano-guitar-trio during a couple of periods and on happy occasions he collaborated with some of the top jazz artists in jam session settings. One had to be on their toes to...

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Mostly Other People Do The Killing - Blue

Scott yanow

 During the past decade, the group Mostly Other People Do The Killing has been both controversial and fun to listen to. Some of the packaging on its CDs satires early Lps including those of Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett. The band’s music has been an exuberant brand of jazz that borrows and turns inside-out music from earlier eras and ranges from swing to free form, often in witt...

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Steve Turre - Spiritman

Scott yanow

One of the top trombonists in jazz of the past 30 years, Steve Turre has long had his own sound within the tradition of jazz. Among his important early associations were Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ray Charles, Woody Shaw and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. In addition to his trombone playing, Turre is a master of the conch seashells, getting eerie sounds out of the shells while switching quickly betwee...

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Henry Allen/Jan Lundgren Quartet - Quietly There

Scott yanow

Johnny Mandel, one of the most significant living songwriters, has built up quite a musical legacy. Now 89, Mandel was born in 1925. He learned trumpet and trombone, playing in the 1940s with Joe Venuti, Boyd Raeburn, Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Rich, Georgie Auld, Chubby Jackson, and in 1953 with Count Basie. However his composing and arranging abilities were so strong that he eventually gave up playi...

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John Coltrane - The 1962 Graz Concert

Scott Yanow

The John Coltrane Quartet toured Europe in the fall of 1962. The classic group (which also included pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones) was in prime form throughout these concerts and the European audiences, which had heard Coltrane when his group also included Eric Dolphy earlier in 1962, were ready for his music, greeting him warmly. Fortunately se...

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Billie Holiday/Buddy DeFranco Quartet - Live In Cologne 1954

Scott Yanow

This valuable CD has concert performances from two different groups that appeared in Cologne in 1954 as part of the Jazz USA tour organized and presented by jazz critic Leonard Feather. Billie Holiday, accompanied by pianist Carl Drinkard, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Elaine Leighton, was having a rough time in her life in 1954 but she sounds in good form during her six numbers....

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Dave Liebman - Ceremony

Scott Yanow

Dave Liebman is a perfect example of today’s modern jazz musician. He performs and records frequently and in a wide variety of settings. But no matter what the context, he sounds like himself and creatively stretches the music. While John Coltrane was an early inspiration, particularly for his tenor playing, Liebman has long had his own style and approaches not only on tenor, but soprano and fl...

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Thelonious Monk - Jackie-ing

Scott Yanow

Whenever previously unreleased performances from Thelonious Monk are discovered and put out, it is always an important event. During April and May of 1961, the pianist-composer and his quartet were featured on a European tour. Music from at least six concerts had previously been released on records including a performance at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw from April 15. Jackie-ing has seven selectio...

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Stan Getz Quartet - Live In Dusseldorf 1960

Scott Yanow

Stan Getz spent much of 1958-61 living in Copenhagen. Already world famous since earlier in the 1950s, Getz enjoyed the less hectic lifestyle of Scandinavia and flourished during this relatively relaxed period. In 1960 he was presented along with the Miles Davis Quintet (featuring John Coltrane) and the Oscar Peterson Trio on an extensive tour of Europe. Getz originally started out with an all-...

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Stanley Cowell - Are You Real?

Scott Yanow

A superior modern mainstream pianist for the past 45 years, Stanley Cowell may not be as flashy as some of the better known keyboardists but he is consistently creative. Cowell worked early on with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Marion Brown, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins and Stan Getz. He co-founded the Strata-East label with Charles Tolliver in the early 1970s and has taught at Rutgers for many years. In hi...

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Stan Getz Quintet - The Complete Interpretations Sessions

Scott Yanow

In the 1950s, tenor-saxophonist Stan Getz was known as “The Sound.” His beautiful tone, originally inspired by Lester Young, was quite personal and individual by the early 1950s. Getz would have a long and productive career but he rarely sounded quite as “cool” as he did during the era represented by this two-CD set. During 1953, Getz recorded three ten-inch Lps (14 selections in al...

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Dave Brubeck Quartet - Dave Digs Disney

Scott Yanow

While visiting Disneyland for the first time with his five kids (four of whom became musicians), Dave Brubeck thought of the idea of recording a full album of songs associated with Disney. Although he had previously recorded a few songs from the world of Disney, no jazz musician had previously recorded a full record of tunes from Disney movies and cartoons. The original Dave Digs Di...

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Miles Davis Quintet - Live In Berlin 1969

Scott Yanow

Miles Davis always regretted that his quintet of 1969, which was comprised of his longtime tenor-saxophonist Wayne Shorter (who was starting to double on soprano) and the brand new rhythm section of keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette, did not record any studio albums. And during Davis’ lifetime, none of the band’s live performances were released either.<br...

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John Coltrane Offering – Live At Temple University

Scott Yanow

This is a historical release that has been done perfectly. In 1966, his last full year on earth, John Coltrane led a quintet that also included Pharoah Sanders on second tenor, his wife pianist Alice Coltrane, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Rashied Ali. By then, Coltrane had greatly opened up his music to emphasize lengthy sound explorations, becoming the universally acknowledged leader of ...

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Bud Powell Live At The Blue Note Café

Scott Yanow

The innovative Bud Powell, who changed the way that the piano is played in jazz, was the main influence on young pianists of the 1945-60 period before the rise of Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner. The fluent single-note lines played by his right hand emulated horn soloists while the chordal interjections of his left hinted at drummers. The timekeeping role, formerly played by the left-hand of stride ...

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Larry Goldings Peter Bernstein Bill Stewart - Ramshackle Serenade

Scott Yanow

Organ-guitar-drums trios, sometimes joined by a tenor, were extremely popular in neighborhood bars in the 1960s. The group was less expensive than the average combo since it did not require a string bassist, the organ sound was attractive to many, and its typical repertoire of blues, ballads and standards along with a few current pop hits was accessible. While the instrumentation was used by Wi...

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Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express - Expectativas

Scott Yanow

Manuel Valera, a 33-year old pianist-composer-bandleader, looks towards the future of jazz. Born in Cuba and a resident of New York City since 2000, he had led eight CDs of his own since 2004 before recording Expectativas. He blends together his classical background with his Cuban heritage and modern jazz (both acoustic and fusion) to form his own modern and stimulating style. While...

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Benny Goodman - Rosemary Clooney Date With The King

Scott Yanow

Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, will always be most famous in the jazz history books for launching the swing era in 1935 and for leading big bands during the next decade. However he had a long career that lasted until his death in 1986. Goodman survived the end of the swing era by 40 years, was active during much of that time, and after 1949 was mostly heard with small groups except on specia...

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Piero Umiliani Da Roma A New York

Scott Yanow

This CD reissues a now-obscure but significant album from 1957. Piero Umiliani, a fine pianist from Italy, was a very good arranger-composer who wrote in the style of 1950s West Coast cool jazz. At the time, jazz was primarily thought of as an American music although there were excellent musicians and writers in the tradition who were part of important movements in several other countries, most...

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Art Pepper The Art Of Pepper

Scott Yanow

Art Pepper was one of the greatest jazz alto-saxophonists of all time. In the early 1950s he emerged as one of the few altoists of the period (along with Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond) who did not sound like a close relative of Charlie Parker. Pepper had developed his own sound during his stints with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and in the 1950s he recorded one classic album after another. Although ...

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Enrico Pieranunzi Autour de Martinu - Live At The Bird’s Eye

Scott Yanow

Enrico Pieranunzi, who is now 65, has been one of the top jazz pianists from Italy during the past 40 years. He originally studied classical music and was a music professor during 1973-75. However in 1975 he switched directions, leaving his job to become a jazz pianist. Since then he has led over 60 CDs of his own and worked with such notables as Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Frank Rosolino, Sal Nist...

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Stan Getz The Steamer

Scott Yanow

Stan Getz had such a beautiful tone on the tenor that in the 1950s he was for a time known simply as “The Sound.” His tone was light and floating yet he could swing as hard as any of his contemporaries. While Lester Young was an influence (and he also cited Jack Teagarden and Benny Goodman among other instrumentalists), by the late 1940s, Getz sounded unlike anyone else. He would continue evolv...

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Louis Armstrong At The Crescendo 1955 – Complete Edition

Scott Yanow

Trombonist Trummy Young and clarinetist Barney Bigard were two of Louis Armstrong’s most dependable and long-term sidemen, but they played together only a relatively short period of time. Bigard was with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars from the start in 1947 until 1955, returning for a few months during 1960-61. Trummy Young was with Satch for 11 years, from 1953-64, but only two of the years (19...

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The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra - Overtime – The Music Of Bob Brookmeyer

Scott Yanow

Bob Brookmeyer had a split musical personality. He was the premiere valve trombonist starting in the 1950s, playing with Gerry Mulligan in his quartet, sextet and Concert Jazz Band, and also working with Stan Getz and on his own sessions. While his valve trombone playing perfectly fit into the more swinging side of West Coast cool jazz, Brookmeyer was also an innovative arranger-composer whose ...

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Marcus Wasilewski - Spark Of Life

Scott Yanow

Marcus Wasilewski, who is 39, is a Polish pianist with a lyrical style. While his melodic playing might recall Keith Jarrett or Bobo Stenson at times, he has his own sound within jazz’s modern mainstream. Wasilewski and bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz first played together when they were 15 year old high school students in 1990. They formed their first trio the following year and in 199...

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Henry Mancini - The Music From Peter Gunn + Driftwood And Dreams

Scott Yanow

One of the premiere Hollywood arranger-composers, Henry Mancini never thought of himself as a jazz artist. However many of his best soundtracks for movies and television included some jazz and were inspired by West Coast cool jazz. This single CD reissues in full two of Henry Mancini’s albums of 1957-58. One of his most famous soundtracks was the score that he wrote for the televisi...

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Stan Getz - At Large – The Complete Sessions

Scott Yanow

The great tenor-saxophonist Stan Getz spent much of 1956-60 living in Scandinavia. Already extremely popular (and playing bossa nova classics was still in his future), Getz’s cool sound, very fluent technique, and ability to play relaxed but exciting bop made him one of the most vital of all jazz artists. Unlike some American jazz stars who rested on their laurels while living in Eu...

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Duke Ellington - The Complete Newport 1958 Performances

Scott Yanow

There were many classic versions of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Some critics rank his 1939-42 band as his best while those who most love his early orchestra would vote for his outfit of 1927-29. But in reality during its entire existence (1924-74) and particularly after 1925, Ellington’s band was always among the top five in the world, whether it was 1932 or 1972. The orchestra never declined...

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Teddy Wilson - Live At The King Of France Tavern

Scott Yanow

New recordings by Teddy Wilson, the definitive swing pianist and a master for over 40 years, are pretty uncommon these days. However this two-CD set is an exciting find for all of its music from a couple of trio sets in 1978 has never been out before. Wilson (1912-86) took the powerful stride piano style of Fats Waller and came up with a more melodic and streamlined approach that pe...

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Aki Takase/Alexander Von Schlippenbach - So Long, Eric!

Scott Yanow

Eric Dolphy was one of the most original of all jazz musicians, developing very distinctive voices on the alto-sax, bass clarinet and flute. While associated with Charles Mingus, John Coltrane and the avant-garde in general, Dolphy actually stood apart from everyone else, having his own unusual logic in both his improvisations and his compositions. Only his early death in 1964 at the age of 36 ...

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Bobby Broom My Shining Hour

Scott Yanow

A superior straight ahead guitarist with a soulful sound of his own, too often Bobby Broom gets overlooked when one thinks of the top jazz guitarists around today. Born in 1961, Broom started playing guitar when he was 12 and jazz at the age of 15. He played with Al Haig, Walter Bishop Jr. and a Carnegie Hall concert with Sonny Rollins by the time he was 16. After graduating from sc...

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Mark Murphy Shadows

Scott Yanow

One of the most innovative jazz singers of the past 45 years, Mark Murphy always had his roots in bebop while moving the music forward. He was never shy to stretch himself in his often-wild scat-singing but he also loved to wrap his voice around meaningful lyrics. Murphy has been ailing in recent times and is probably permanently retired as of this writing, so the release of a “new”...

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Dave Brubeck Quartet - The Complete Storyville Broadcasts

Scott Yanow

The most famous version of the Dave Brubeck Quartet was his 1958-67 group that in addition to featuring the pianist-leader and altoist Paul Desmond, included bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello. However the earlier version of the group, which began in 1951 (long before “Take Five”), matched Brubeck and Desmond with quietly supportive bassists and drummers. Brubeck’s quarte...

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Harold Mabern - Right On Time

Scott Yanow

Harold Mabern, who is now 78, has been a major hard bop pianist at least since the time he moved to New York in 1959. He has been so consistent for so long that it is easy to take him for granted, at least until one hears him play. He performed jazz as a youth in Memphis, moving to Chicago in 1954 and becoming part of the local scene for five years. After relocating to New York, Mabern worked w...

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Antonio Sanchez - Three Times Three

Scott Yanow

A very alert, supportive and intuitive drummer, Antonio Sanchez has had a very impressive career so far. He was born in Mexico City, started playing drums at five, played professionally as a teenager and earned a degree in classical piano. In 1993 he moved to the U.S. to study at Berklee and a few years later earned a Masters at the New England Conservatory. He has since worked with Dizzy Gille...

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Joe Harriott Quintet - Abstract/Southern Horizons/Free Form

Scott Yanow

Joe Harriott was one of the top saxophonists based in England during the 1950s and ‘60s. Born in Jamaica in 1928, he was well on his way to mastering the alto-sax before he moved to England in 1951. He was originally a bebop-based saxophonist inspired by Charlie Parker’s ideas but with a sound of his own. Harriott recorded six selections as a leader in quartets during 1953-54 and had two full-l...

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Jacques Loussier - Play Bach Vols. 1, 2 & 3 Plus Joue Kurt Weill

Scott Yanow

It would not be an understatement to say that pianist Jacques Loussier has had a unique career. He was born in Angers, France in 1934 and is still active today at the age of 80. He began piano lessons at ten, soon became very interested in the music of Bach, attended the Conservatoire National de Musique and began composing music of his own. He spent several years in his twenties vi...

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Lee Konitz & Bill Evans - You and Lee + Lee Konitz Meets Jimmy Giuffre

Scott Yanow

Lee Konitz, one of the few alto-saxophonists of the late 1940s to not sound like a close relative of Charlie Parker, has always had his own cool tone and a very inquisitive musical spirit. He has been a creative musician since at least 1946 and is still playing well 68 years later. Bill Evans was one of the most influential pianists of all time. His chord voicings and interaction with the membe...

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Grant Green - Nigeria

Scott Yanow

Grant Green and Sonny Clark always made for a great combination. But although they recorded several very rewarding Blue Note albums together, most of their joint recordings were not released until at least until the 1970s, probably due to Clark’s early death (at the age of 31 in 1963). Green, the main guitarist at Blue Note, was on an impressive string of exciting recordings during ...

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Scott Hamilton - Remembering Billie

Scott Yanow

When Scott Hamilton first caused a sensation in the mid-1970s, it was because the young tenor-saxophonist was a world class player who chose to play swing-oriented music. He has stuck to a steady course during the 40 years since, recording one swinging album of standards after another. None of his recordings are less than very good, but Remembering Billie crosses the line into being one of his ...

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Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins - Complete Recordings

Scott Yanow

Pianist-composer Thelonious Monk and tenor-saxophonist Sonny Rollins always seemed like an ideal combination, so it is surprising how relatively little they recorded together. Although Monk had considered Rollins his first choice to join his quartet in 1960, Rollins turned him down and they never actually worked together on a regular basis. The two-CD set Complete Recordings starts ...

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Chick Corea - Trilogy

Scott Yanow

t is very difficult to believe that Chick Corea is now 73. He is one of the most active and consistently creative musicians on the scene, not just today but during any of the past 50 years. Rather than coast or play the predictable, it seems as if every couple of months Corea forms a new band that is just as exciting and stimulating as his previous one. Trilogy is a three-CD set tha...

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Mike DiRubbo - Threshold

Scott Yanow

A superior alto-saxophonist whose sound is influenced a little by his mentor, the late great Jackie McLean, Mike DiRubbo is a passionate hard bop musician. Since graduating from the University of Hartford (where he studied directly with McLean), DiRubbo has led eight CDs of his own and worked with such notables as trombonist Steve Davis, pianist David Hazeltine, trumpeters Jim Rotondi and Brian...

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Sarah Vaughan - Wonderful Sarah

Scott Yanow

 Sarah Vaughan had one of the most miraculous voices not only in jazz but in popular music. She had a very wide range, perfect control over her voice, a very attractive tone, and the ability to sing whatever she wanted. She could have been an opera singer if that had been her goal.               Instead, Sarah Vaughan became one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, competin...

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