23 abr. 2009


Sarah Vaughan. How Long Has This Been Going On?

Sarah with Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson, Louie Bellson--one of those Pablo releases arranged by Norman Granz. Cuts include I've Got the World on a String, Easy Living, Body and Soul... In short, a predictable set of standards.

With Sarah Vaughan, the voice is the first thing. It's not just a great voice, but several different voices, different registers, and several different uses of the voice. Listen to the long notes, how the note has a beginning, an extension during which vibrato might become broader, and an end point where something else might happen.

Then there's the diction--the way a certain vowel or consonant receives a particular inflection, what Barthes called the grain of the voice.

Sometimes the voice overwhelms a trivial lyric. I feel that the raw material could have been better chosen (not on this album though.)

Another aspect is "story telling." In this she is often as good as Sinatra. The voice can get in the way of this, but surprisingly doesn't most of the time.