Zara McFarlane: Sweet Whispers: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan review – terrific tribute to a jazz legend

(Eternal Source of Light/!K7 Records)
The British jazz singer pays homage to Vaughan with earthiness and spontaneity: an animated reinvention of these classics

The great African American double bass player Richard Davis used to note that it had been “the university of Sarah Vaughan” – his life on the road from 1957-63 with the jazz singer dubbed The Divine One – that taught him everything worth knowing about timing, improvisation and making every sound count.

Vaughan’s range and breath control, effortlessly cool spontaneity, and the telling punctuation of her phrasing have inspired all manner of singers for 60 years or more, and still do – including Mobo award-winning vocalist Zara McFarlane. In Vaughan’s centenary year, McFarlane brings personal muses drawn from London’s multi-stylistic music scene and her own Jamaican heritage to bear on 10 Vaughan classics and one original.

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