Sarah Vaughan is served well on Gold. First, it's a career-spanning compilation, something that's rather rare in her discography. Beginning with sides from her Columbia years of the late '40s and early '50s, and ending with a 1981 Pablo date with Count Basie, Gold surveys Sassy at her absolute best, whether it's a classic torch song such as "Lover Man" or the breezily swinging "Lullaby of Birdland." The work surveyed comes from both her small-group outings and large-group dates, with strings or without, and much credence is given to her self-titled 1954 album with Clifford Brown (four tracks total), as well as her series of Gershwin songbook records of the mid-'50s (two inclusions). In fact, three-fourths of the program is recordings from the '50s. This is as close to a career summation as listeners are bound to get, or will need to have.