Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy’s – Resonance

Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy’s – Resonance HCD-2017 86:50 (2 CDs) ****:

A consummate jazz vocalist in peak form.

(Sarah Vaughan – vocals; Carl Schroeder – piano; Walter Booker – bass; Jimmy Cobb – drums)

Patricia Willard, in writing for The Oxford Companion To Jazz Edited by Bill Kirchner, said the following about Sarah Vaughan: “ her voice had the richness, range, power, and control to project operatic arias”. The full panoply of the majesty of Vaughan’s voice is on display in this two-CD release on Resonance Records Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy’s.

Recorded originally in 1978 at Rosy’s Jazz Club in New Orleans for the NPR Radio weekly syndicated program Jazz Alive! the tapes have never been commercially released. Vaughan, at the time, was 54 years old, and while possibly not in her prime, she still had a commanding voice that could fill a room. Backed by her long-standing trio that included pianist Carl Schroeder, bassist Walter Booker, and the inimitable tasteful drummer Jimmy Cobb, Vaughan’s set of popular and jazz standards were artfully crafted to bring out her vocal range and stylistic artistry.

The opening number is a swinging version of “I’ll Remember April” which after the first run-through, Vaughan offers a couple of choruses of dynamic scatting. Her straightforward execution and rhythmic feel shows that she was in full command of this improvisation. “East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)” had long been part of Vaughan’s repertoire. According to Patricia Willard, she had originally recorded the number with Dizzy Gillespie in 1944, and again in 1950 with a group that included Miles Davis, Budd Johnson, Benny Green and Tony Scott. The version here is just with bassist Walter Booker, again with her scatting in the fore-front.

At he time of this engagement at Rosy’s Vaughan was 54, and her voice had the maturity, depth, and confidence that was not so evident early in her career. For example, there was a simple little ditty that Vaughan recorded in 1947 for Musicraft, when she was 23 entitled “I Feel So Smoochie”. In this outing, one could sense her underlying capabilities but her voice was feather light with minimum vibrato. As she delivered this set, she was in complete vocal command of the material whether it came from Broadway with “Send In The Clowns” and “A Lot Of Living To Do” or the Popular Songbook, namely “Poor Butterfly” and “My Funny Valentine”.

Finally the sound and engineering on this re-issue are first rate, as well as the detailed booklet of liner notes and recollections about Sarah Vaughan, all of which add immeasurably to the enjoyment of this session.

TrackList: CD1: I’ll Remember April; I Fall In Love Too Easily; Band Intro; East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon); A Lot Of Livin’ To Do; Time After Time; Somebody Loves Me; Poor Butterfly; A-Tisket A-Tasket; Send In The Clowns; Sarah’s Blues
CD2: The Man I Love; I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good); Watch What Happens; If You Went Away ( Precisio Aprender A Ser Só); I Could Write A Book; I Remember You; Fascinating Rhythm; Everything Must Change; Like Someone In Love; My Funny Valentine; Ending Theme

—Pierre Giroux

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