Picks and Pans Review: Songs of the Beatles

updated 07/27/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/27/1981 01:00AM

Sarah Vaughan

Most of the great jazz-pop singers—Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and even Bing Crosby—have recorded Beatles tunes. None has done it more successfully than Vaughan, 57, the durable Newark native who got her start with Earl Hines' band. She adds freshness to even the most familiar Lennon-McCartney songs, like Yesterday, or Harrison's Something, rendered as a bossa nova in front of Lee Ritenour's guitar. But most enchanting are less familiar tunes like Blackbird; You Never Give Me Your Money, done up like a cool '50s jazz number; and a driving, fused version of Get Back. Vaughan can still gently seize a note, turn it, smooth it, dip it and make it something new yet familiar. Here she started out with some pretty good notes in the first place.

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