Sarah Vaughan – At Mister Kelly’s (1958)
Wikipedia (1957) & my book (1958) disagree on the release date: as per usual, tie goes to the book!
I was chatting with my sister & my cousin last weekend about the benefits of having an unrefined palate.
For example, there’s only been the odd glass of red wine I haven’t enjoyed; most of the time, I can’t tell the difference between a $7 or $70 bottle.
I feel that way about a lot of vocal jazz. There’s the occasional singer I may not appreciate but for the most part, even if I can’t tell if I’m listening to a contender or a pretender, I tend to be a fan.
So take any jazz praise from me with an unsophisticated grain of salt: like most red wines, I liked At Mister Kelly’s!
This concert doesn’t feel like a ‘must-hear’ historic document (like Dylan’s 1966 show) but more like the sound of an artist in her element.
Her voice is never less than appealing & her trio’s understated backing fits neatly throughout.
Two moments in particular made me smile:
1) When the host introduced Ms. Vaughan as “the divine..” – much like Cam from Modern Family, I overuse the term divine. I can’t help it, I’m a celebrator!
2) When Sarah sang Alone – I didn’t recognize the song at first but was simply ebullient once I did.
The song hails from one of my all time favourite films, A Night At the Opera, released 40 years before the Queen album of the same name. Vaughan’s take is
divi lovely, albeit several octaves lower and with, oh, a tad less vibrato. Thank you Youtube:
Like many live albums, I may not revisit At Mister Kelly’s all that often (anyone else sometimes feel like they’re listening to someone else’s memories when hearing a live show they didn’t attend?).
But that’s more of an “it’s not you Sarah, it’s me” situation as opposed to any shortcomings in her performance.