From the S&S archives: Real gone, Miss Vaughan
October 21, 1954
SULTRY SONGSTRESS Sarah Vaughan is singing the blues these days — but they're not the box-office variety.
Currently warbling her way across Europe in jazz tempo, the diminutive Miss Vaughan is hitting 23 major cities in as many days. The road is rough and getting rougher.
"This has nothing to do with the audiences either," explained Sarah, who sang her way into the big time a dozen years ago via an amateur contest in New York's Apollo Theater.
"Jazz audiences over here are crazy," continues Miss Vaughan. "I told them that in Paris — and I had to explain that in jazz jargon 'crazy' means wonderful. That's just what they are — wonderful."
Typical of the troubles plaguing the Vaughan tour was the Paris show which started 1½ hours late due to a train tie-up. On top of this, the co-stars in the company — Illinois Jacquet and Coleman Hawkins — became immersed in Paris cafe life and missed the opening show in Kaiserslautern the following night.
A lady of beaucoup talent, Sarah knocked 'em dead in Paris with her wonderful change of pace, switching abruptly from blues to scat singing.
Prior to the Paris engagement, the Vaughan-Jacquet-Hawkins packet played to packed houses in Scandinavia, Northern Germany, Belgium and Holland. The company played one-night stands in England on Oct. 18-19 and returned to Germany to appear in Nurnberg Oct. 20; Frankfurt, Oct. 21; and Hamburg, Oct. 22.
Miss Vaughan will take leave of Hawkins and the Jacquet orchestra in Hamburg and will return to London with her accompanying trio for a concert at Royal Albert Hall and a BBC broadcast on Oct. 24-25.
There's been little time for off-stage horseplay during the tour because of the tight scheduling, but Miss Vaughan managed to visit a few "very fine" jazz clubs in Copenhagen and Stockholm in her infrequent off-moments.
Following her London engagements, the singer's entourage will be given a three-day holiday in Paris at her expense and then embark for the States from Le Havre on Oct. 29. Miss Vaughan will be joined in Paris by George Treadwell, Broadway agent who is acting as advance man on the tour.
Back in the U.S. Miss Vaughan will do a 10-day stand in Philadelphia and follow that up with a month's stint at New York's Birdland. She then plans to work her way cross-country to Hollywood, where she will appear in a screen musical.
The 30-year-old songstress declared she is thinking of returning to Europe again next year, but on location rather than on tour.
"I've been considering filling an engagement on the Riviera or in Rome, but no more touring like this over here — the transportation problems are too much."
Commenting on the various auditoriums she has sung in during the tour, Miss Vaughan said, "We've been pretty lucky on that score. As long as the acoustics are good, I don't mind what the hall is like. If the acoustics are bad, that bothers me — I can't hear myself sing."
'That would bother anybody with a voice like hers.