Sarah Vaughan: The Island
Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
Crazy and Mixed Up (Pablo 2312137)
Andy Simpkins (bass), Harold Jones (drums).
Composed by Ivan Lins, Vitor Martins and Alan & Marilyn Bergman.
Recorded: Hollywood, CA, March 1-2, 1982
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Sarah Vaughan self-produced Crazy and Mixed Up, her final and perhaps finest album for Norman Granz's Pablo label. They're all outstanding due to the fact that Vaughan's voice had by then taken on an unsurpassed richness, range and flexibility. She chose two Ivan Lins songs, "Love Dance" and "The Island," for this project, and "The Island" is undoubtedly one of the sexiest, most emotionally unrestrained tracks that she ever recorded. Of course, it helps that the English lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman transformed lyricist Vitor Martin's original rather philosophical musings in Portuguese for "Comerçar de Novo," into the thinly disguised salute to ecstatic physical lovemaking of "The Island."
Roland Hanna's pensive intro is followed by Vaughan's wordless incantation of the melody, highlighted by swooping drops to the depths of the lower register. When she takes up the lyrics, her sensually expressive interpretation seamlessly adheres to the symbolic meaning of the words. Her gliding arpeggios, resonant chest tones, and flawlessly executed crescendos and decrescendos build to the dramatic, scorchingly hot climax: "I can see the island / Shining in the distance / Now we are getting closer / Just keep your arms around me / Come my love … / We're there." Vaughan had ended a troubled marriage to trumpeter Waymon Reed, 16 years her junior, not long before the Crazy and Mixed Up session, and she never involved herself in another romance. Her astonishing performance of "The Island," however, indicates that her flame was still burning bright.
Reviewer: Scott Albin