Sarah Vaughan, Live at Rosy's

On the heels of its revelatory release of long-lost sessions by Larry Young in Paris during the mid-1960s, Resonance Records pulls another treasure from the archives—Sarah Vaughan's appearance at Rosy's, a now-defunct New Orleans jazz club, in May 1978.

Vaughan was 54 and in the midst of a merry comeback, recording a slew of albums for producer Norman Granz on the Pablo label and performing in a string of small clubs around the world (I saw her around this time at a very small venue, holding maybe 50 people, in Washington, DC), all with stunning virtuosity leavened with a playful verve.

She also had a great trio: Walter Booker on bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums, and her young arranger, Carl Schroeder, on piano. That's the group heard on the two CDs of Live at Rosy's. The club date was recorded for NPR's Jazz Alive, a wonderful program from that era (I'm surprised its archive hasn't served as the source for dozens of albums). A few years ago, Tim Owens, who produced the series, told Zev Feldman, Resonance's proprietor-sleuth, about the existence of tapes that didn't make the cut for the show's hour-long broadcast—hence this album, and there's nothing second-string about it.

Sarah, the Divine One, is clearly having a grand time, swooping octaves, holding whole notes with a velvet vibrato, turning ballads into vamps, vamps into speed-fests, and sometimes playing songs straight and level too. She also shows great comic flair. Check out Disc 1, Track 9, when she calls for requests from the audience and hears back "A-Tisket A-Tasket" (from someone apparently confusing her with Ella Fitzgerald, who'd made a huge hit of the song 40 years earlier), prompting Vaughan to deadpan, "Well, I'll be damned . . . He thinks I'm Lena Horne," then to dive into the tune anyway, in a dead-on impression of Ella's little-girl voice of way back then.

Mainly she sings her long repertoire of standards: "I'll Remember April," "I Fall in Love Too Easily," "East of the Sun," "Time After Time," and, of course, "Send in the Clowns," which I've never heard any Broadway star sing more movingly.

This ranks right up there with the best Sarah Vaughan albums from this period (she died of lung cancer in 1990). And the sound quality, while a little thin on the drums, is very good too.

COMMENTS
Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Thank you so much for this review of music from one of the great artistic geniuses of the 20th century. I often play Sarah Vaughan's rendition of "Send in the Clowns" at audio shows. It has provided several truly transcendent moments for everyone in the room. The recording is available as a DSD download from NativeDSD.com. See https://2xhd.nativedsd.com/albums/2XHDRE1045-sarah-vaughan-live-at-rosys

ednazarko's picture

Downloaded it awhile back when it showed up on my HD vendor of choice, and when we listened to it on Saturday morning after, it pretty much blew up our day... we kept backing up to re-listen, then started to go off into other Sarah Vaughan to listen to the same song in different forms. It's one of those "pretty good sound considering" HD releases.

When I lived in Boston, one of the morning jazz shows kicked off and closed with her version of "Just a Little Lovin'", and it's ruined for me anyone else performing that song.

georgehifi's picture

It's great to hear about fantastic artist such as Sara Vaughan and others.
But being Stereophile and very equipment orientated, I would also like to see a whole paragraph included just for the recorded quality of every artist's album presented as well.
As I been stung buying after hearing it on the car radio. EG: Adel's cd's and found them just a load of compressed rubbish with no dynamic contrast/swing at all!!!!!

Cheers George

doak's picture

What's that??

Facetious, of course, though how about listening to this as a DSD file?
Downloaded this when it first became available. Sound is good as DSD, not among the very best but solid. Has to better than the CD version, n'est-ce pas?

Rosy's came and went FAR too quickly. Though I somehow missed this concert, I did see/hear a number of "name" jazz artists there - while it lasted. Incredibly, here in the "place where jazz was born" we still have nothing to truly takes its place. A shame, indeed.

Really: CD is a DEAD medium. Get with it.

georgehifi's picture

Get with it???

Things like the rubbish Adel compressed sound won't change one iota for the better if played though dsd.
Maybe if there was a "native" DSD recording of it, maybe if they didn't compress it also.
https://www.nativedsd.com/
But I'm sure Adel has never been recorded on "native" dsd, but on PCM.
Those in the know, know the most "bit prefect" way of converting PCM is with R2R ladder Multibit dacs which don't do dsd unless you spend big bucks, only delta sigma dacs can, and they only give a facsimile of PCM, and it's not bit perfect.

Cheers George