All that indie rock coverage of last week really put me in the mood for some solidly brilliant old timey shit. Enter: Sarah Vaughan.
Here's a controversial statement about Sarah Vaughan that I hold true: I think she's as good as Ella Fitzgerald (who she opened for at The Apollo in 1943, after winning one of their famed amateur nights). Some music fans would probably consider physically harming me for that one, but there it is. Don't get me wrong, she's completely different. But she's definitely as good.
Just listen to that tone. It's deep and rich and dark. While Ella has a smoothness to her voice which is completely unrivaled (and while she would definitely win in a scatting contest), Sarah's got this richness that's all kinds of magical (not to mention that she can also hold her on in scatting, which is evident in this track). Her nickname, "The Divine One," was well-earned.
Vaughan was also from Newark, which is kind of a soft spot for me. I often walk by the street named for her by NJPac on my way from the office to Penn Station. It makes me smile. In fact, as noted on Wikipedia (and verified on my commute):
In 2004-2006, New Jersey Transit paid tribute to Miss Vaughan in the design of its new Newark Light Rail stations. Passengers stopping at any station on this line can read the lyrics to one of her signature songs, "Send in the Clowns", along the edge of the station platform.
There's also the matter of the slew of jazz greats that she freqeuently had behind her, including Dizzie Gillespie, Art Blakey, Miles Davis and Charlie "Bird" Parker. Of course Birdland, the club named after Parker, is the subject of this song.
Lullaby of Birdland.mp3
Lullaby of birdland,
That's what I always hear,
When you sigh.