Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Divinity Is Still My Name: Sarah Vaughan 100

Sarah Vaughan Quintet - I Remember Clifford

All right, March rolls on with this month's big centennial!

There are a wealth of luminaries who dropped into our firmament in the year of 1924, but I can't name one more luminescent than today's sassy and soulful singer.

Certainly firmly in the conversation for Greatest Jazz Singer Of All Time, she's been gone a long time but she isn't gonna be forgotten until at least the year 3024.

I covered her exactly 10 years ago for her 90th, and I wouldn't dare miss her 100th if you paid me.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, she came on the scene in the early 1940s (!!!!) when, after winning the Apollo Theater talent competition -- that's the one where if you sucked, they'd hook you off the stage with a giant cane sorta thing -- she was chosen to open for Ella Fitzgerald at that famed Harlem venue.

By the time she was 20, she had progressed from the band of Earl "Fatha" Hines into Billy Eckstine's newly minted Big Band, which brought her into the company of the likes of Charlie Parker, Art Blakey and Miles Davis to name but a few.

After her time onboard with Eckstine and his all-stars, she went solo and she never looked back.

By the late 1940s Sarah Vaughan -- nicknamed Sassy by her pianist and later The Divine One by Chicago DJ Dave Garroway -- was a household name and a superstar, and remained so until her death in 1990.

This isn't an artist whose impact is easily conveyed by words of explanation, so let's get into this Hamburg 1978 set that got rebroadcast by German radio two weeks ago in honor of her centenary, to which I've added some bonus material from the very same Eurotour.

Sarah Vaughan Quintet
NDR-Jazzworkshop (139)
NDR Studio 10
Hamburg, Germany

01 This Is the End of a Beautiful Friendship
02 I'll Remember April
03 I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
04 East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)
05 Lover Man
06 Watch What Happens
07 Somewhere Over the Rainbow
08 On a Clear Day
09 You're Blasé
10 Blues improvisation
11 I Remember Clifford
12 There Will Never Be Another You
13 Send In the Clowns
14 Misty/Tenderly
15 outro theme
16 Once In a While
bonus tracks:
17 Sarah introduces the Gershwin medley
18 Somebody Loves Me
19 Love Walked In
20 Fascinating Rhythm
21 I Cried for You
22 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
23 Bye Baby, Bye

Total time: 1:42:10
disc break goes after Track 11

Sarah Vaughan - vocals & piano on Track 16
Carl Schroeder - piano
Waymon Reed - trumpet
Walter Booker - bass
Jimmy Cobb - drums

Tracks 01-14: digital capture of a March 2024 256/48k NDR digital rebroadcast
Tracks 15-16: digital capture of a Australian Broadcasting Corporation webstream, date and bitrate unknown
converted to 16/44 CD Audio and slightly retracked/edited -- with repeating portion in Track 15 removed -- by EN, March 2024
Tracks 17-20: Concertgebouw, Haarlem NL 10.22.1978 sourced from an HD YouTube file; spectral goes past 20k, so equivalent to a preFM source
Tracks 21-23: unidentified venue, Prague CZ (late October/early November 1978); sourced from the 2007 Impro-Jazz DVD "Live In Prague 1978"
bonus tracks captured, extracted & remastered by EN, March 2024
516 MB FLAC/direct link

I might do one more for March, if this Nick Lowe 1983 show can be reconstituted. But no promises.

I've also got another possibility lined up for the 31st, but again who knows.
No matter, for today is all about Sarah Vaughan -- born this day in 1924 -- and her legacy of impeccable and influential music gifted us over the course of a 50 year career that can only be termed a full tuition at Divinity School.--J.

3.27.1924 - 4.3.1990