Sarah Vaughan was one of the definitive female jazz voices of the 20th century. She had an impeccable ear that could pick up hidden nuances and subtleties in any chord progression and her colorful imagination allowed her to bring to life any musical idea that touched her fancy. Hits like, "Linger Awhile" and "You’re Mine You" made her a best-selling recording artist by the 1950s.
Filmed in 1985, in Stamford, Connecticut, this DVD captures Ms. Vaughan’s wit and charm as well as her engaging stage presence. It is no wonder she picked up the nickname "Sassy." (At one point, she razzes the lighting crew and rouses the audience to laughter.) Although this is one of her later performances, her verve and dynamism is as strong as it ever was.
The show opens with some scat vocals that are stellar and show the range of her voice -- she gets down real low -- and gingerly cascades into "Just Friends."
She does a powerful Gershwin medley that includes: "But Not For Me," "Our Love is Here to Stay," "Embraceable You," and ends with a moving rendition of "Someone to Watch Over Me," a song that always manages to bring tears to my eyes, no matter how many times I hear it, (even though it has saturated the airwaves and was eventually sold into advertising slavery.) Sarah’s phrasing and timing take this tune to a whole other level.
Ms. Vaughan also performs some of her better known classics such as "Poor Butterfly," "East of the Sun," "Misty," and "Send in the Clowns," and the video ends with a little more playful audience engagement and semi-scatting (for those of us who just can’t get enough of that stuff.)
A delightfully entertaining show both to the ear and the eye. Ms. Vaughan’s spry and energetic personality is something that audio recordings just can't capture effectively. This rare look at her in action is something all fans of jazz vocals will enjoy and a definite must have for any classic jazz video collection.