With a musical career that spanned five decades (1942-1989), the late Sarah Vaughan recorded quite a few tracks. What brings them together is of course her voice, a unique one that remains with listeners for long after the last note on Vaughan’s last track has been played. It isn’t an easy task to pay tribute to her, but this is what Hungary-born, Toronto-based Delilah embarked to do in a four-track EP she released earlier this year.
Only three of the tracks on Sarah + 1: A Tribute to Sarah Vaughan end up being Vaughan songs, as the last one is Delilah’s cover of Charlie Chaplin/John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons’ seminal song “Smile”. Universally known well beyond jazz circles, it is a difficult song to cover because of the multiplicity of amazing versions already available (Nat King Cole’s version comes immediately to mind). And while Delilah’s voice is beautiful and her version is the same, it does not translate into a remarkable, stand out version.
This stays true for the three Vaughan tracks that Delilah covers. The modernised takes on “September in the Rain” and “Just Friends” feature talented musicianship, and while “Whatever Lola Wants” features the same, it does not have the heavy sultriness that made the original popular.
Delilah’s attempt to cover some well-known jazz classics introduces new listeners to her lovely voice, despite the fact that her versions do not stand out against the countless other versions already available. More information about Delilah is available on her official website. Her album is available for streaming on SoundCloud.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.
First published on Blogcritics.