Sarah Vaughan: Live in '58 & '64

Jim Santella BY

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Sarah Vaughan
Live in '58 & '64
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With the camera on Sarah Vaughan and the microphone picking up every pearly note from her performance, these three black and white sessions work wonders for the soul. She was one of the best. No one could deliver a ballad the way she did, and many singers followed in her footsteps.

She's featured here filming in a Swedish television studio session in 1958, performing at an auditorium in Holland that same year and, several years later, performing at an auditorium in Sweden. She works comfortably with two different piano trios, interpreting songs that show her at her best. Up-tempo romps such as "Cherokee and sultry ballads such as "Lover Man reveal the depth of her repertoire. Vaughan, sensitively supported by her sidemen, interprets each song with a veteran's confidence.

Musically, the three sessions mirror one another. She is in command of each selection, in fine voice, and in love with her audience. The camera work for her two '58 sessions, while clear and crisp, focuses only on the singer and has little variety cinematically—one camera and one angle—though it captures one cohesive program. Vaughan's eyes dart from side to side, not sure what to make of the camera. The '64 session works out much better. Filmed with multiple camera angles that capture everything on stage, this latter session is the most memorable.

All three performances, Reelin' in the Years productions, bring the singer into our living rooms for a warm evening of great music, which is what each of the original programs was intended for. When she sings "Misty, the whole room turns into mush, as hearts melt and tears begin to fall. Including an extensive mini- biography by Patricia Willard, this DVD package serves as an invaluable souvenir of one who meant so much to us all.

Tracks: Sometimes I'm Happy; Lover Man; September in the Rain; Mean to Me; Tenderly; If This Isn't Love; Over the Rainbow; They All Laughed; Lover Man; Cherokee; Sometimes I'm Happy; I Feel Pretty; The More I See You; Baubles, Bangles and Beads; I Got Rhythm; Misty; Honeysuckle Rose; Maria; Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home.

Personnel: Sarah Vaughan: vocals; Ronnell Bright, Kirk Stuart: piano; Richard Davis, Buster Williams: double bass; Art Morgan, George Hughes: drums.

Production Notes: 65 minutes. Filmed July 9, 1958 in Sweden; June 7, 1958 in Holland; and January 10, 1964 in Sweden. Extras: rare photographs, memorabilia collage.

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