As part of its recently launched "Jazz Icons" series, this installment captures all-universe jazz diva Sarah Vaughn performing in Sweden (1958), Holland (1958) and Sweden (1964). Accolades aren’t required here, yet the extensive booklet serves as a rather encompassing bio of the late vocalist, featuring text specific to these live dates - shot in black & white.
We get to see a then 34-year old Sarah Vaughn and her trio, including the eminent bassist Richard Davis, during a 1958 performance for a Swedish television program. She performs "Lover Man" -- which is prefaced by her comments to the quiet and presumably small studio audience -- about her initial recording of this ballad with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Interestingly enough, Vaughn appears rather even keel here - as if she’s on an audition. But her amazing control and multi-octave range is the stuff that budding vocalists could only dream of attaining. Fast forward to her 1964 Swedish restaurant gig also filmed by Swedish TV, we find the artist looking more relaxed, where she occasionally shakes her hips and sways her arms to the swing grooves of "I Got Rhythm," and other standards. Moreover, her quasi angelic and soulful rendition of Errol Garner’s classic "Misty," is about as perfect as anyone could hope to achieve.Vaughn’s complex persona amid other topics is discussed in the companion text. So, it’s the best of both worlds: good reading and superb performances by one of the supreme vocal greats of the 20th century.