Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Sarah Vaughan!!!

That singer and musician with the incredible range who inspired the world with her amazing voice and 4-octave range, was also known as the incredible Sarah Vaughan.

90 years ago today, March 27th, the divine one was born and throughout her life, used her beautiful talent to croon songs that we all have grown to love and that still play on many of the world's jazz radio stations today. I think the songs I appreciate the most or at least the jazz vocal works I heed the most are pieces from Sarah Vaughan's huge collection of music.   That is actually how I came to know that it was the birthday of one my favorite singers in the world.

Every Wednesday night is jazz night at the Proper Cafe located at 217-01 Linden Blvd in Cambria Heights, NY and like most nights, I am blessed with opportunity to vocalize a few jazz tunes that have touched my heart; often a tune that Sarah Vaughan did a rendition of. Last night was no different. I heard The Divine one's version of "Black Coffee" and instantly fell in love with it and wanted to cover it. And I did!

Jazz night usually ends around midnight and that's when I have to drive back to Brookkyn, NY. While driving, music keeps me energized to find my way back home safely. Who would have thought I would have heard her best rendition of "I Cried For You" spinning on WBGO and also find out that today would've been Sarah Vaughan's 90th birthday?  Blessed to know and thankful to be able to celebrate her life and her legacy, even in this minimal way.

Her gift was amazing and I am so very inspired by her ability. How many singers you know that can hit the types of notes that she was hitting back in the forties?  So classy and great stage personality! Her voice was definitely an instrument and she used it well. And her scatting; incredible.  Thankful to know of such an awesome singer and to be able to listen to her recordings and to even attempt to do some of the things she was doing vocally.  

For instance; I went down to Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, NY for a jazz vocal workshop with Marion Cowings and was so inspired by her rendition of "Just One of a Those Things," that I tried to sing it. Check out the live footage of it here:

Blessed by her legacy. I think I will be going on a Sarah Vaughan musical escapade, listening to her instrument, the whole day long. 

Happy 90th birthday way up there in heaven! RIP Sarah Vaughan and thank you!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

75th Anniversary of Blue Note Records Celebration with EpistrophyEnsemble


Monday, March 24, 2014 is a day to remember. Especially for those who were fortunate enough to be at York College in Jamaica, NY for the 75th anniversary of the Blue Note Record Label featuring the Epistrophy Ensemble.  The event was held in the lobby of York College's Performing Arts Center and the music was beautiful. 

The exciting musical event started with John Coltrane's Blue Train, and continued With Dexter Gordon's Cheesecake with a tenor sax feature by Omar Daniels. Followed by that was John Coltrane's Lazy Bird featuring alto sax player Carl Bartlett Jr. 

Other notable songs were Horace Silver's Song for my Father, Freddy Hubbard's Up a Jump Spring and Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil just to name a few. 

What was great about the event was that it was more than just the music but also featured educational components about the Blue Note Records itself including the who, what, when, where and why about the label. The sound, the atmosphere, the knowledge; awesome!