The third of four Sarah Vaughan Mercury box sets (this one has six CDs) traces her career during the last two and a half years of the 1950s. There are several very interesting sessions (expanded greatly by the inclusion of many previously unissued performances) on this box including 21 numbers from a gig at Mister Kelly's in Chicago with her trio (led by pianist Jimmy Jones), a meeting with the Count Basie Orchestra that resulted in the album No Count Sarah, and a live set with a septet (which includes cornetist Thad Jones and the tenor of Frank Wess) at the London House in Chicago. In addition, there are quite a few commercial sides with large orchestras (including some sessions arranged by Quincy Jones), so overall this box lets one hear the many sides of Sarah Vaughan; a special highlight is her first recorded version of "Misty." The reissue (and the other three volumes) is a must for Sarah Vaughan's greatest fans although more general listeners may want to acquire one of the less expensive single CDs instead.
During the mid-'50s, Sarah Vaughan spent most of her time recording songbook standards backed by a large orchestra in florid arrangements, with only the occasional breath of fresh air like her masterpiece, 1954's Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown. Four years after that milestone, another landed with the live album At Mister Kelly's. Recorded quite early in the days of the live LP, the album captured Vaughan at her best and most relaxed, stretching out on a set of late-night torch songs and ballads.