No Pics Sarah
I have Sarah Vaughan to thank for bringing my fledgling hobby as a concert photographer to a sudden end. Back in the day, I owned a good camera and took classes at the Worcester Art Museum, where I learned how to use a darkroom. I had a pretty good eye for composition and for a few years took scores of travel and nature photos, but it wasn’t till I went to see the Divine One at a theater in Woonsocket, Rhode Island that I hauled my Canon to a concert.
It was my regret over not having a filmed record of the innumerable concerts I’d already been to by 1977 that prompted me to begin taking pictures, and I’d still love to have a personal archive to pore over. But what I discovered when I went to see Ms. Vaughan was that I spent so much time compulsively looking for the next choice picture to take that I ended up paying scant attention to the music. And that, after all, was what I was there for in the first place. With very few exceptions, I haven’t snapped a concert picture since then, but I heard Sassy on a few subsequent occasions and made up for what I’d missed in Woonsocket. (I also have a friend in Steven Sussman, who somehow manages to take beautiful pictures and never miss a note; his photos occasionally grace this blog, and the walls of my office.)
We’ll hear Sarah Vaughan in tonight’s Jazz a la Mode. The great singer made a couple of sessions for Roulette in the early ‘60’s that paired her with guitar-and-bass duos. One of these, Sarah + 2, featured guitarist Barney Kessell and the aptly-named Joe Comfort on bass; tune in at 8 to hear Sassy singing "Just in Time," "All or Nothing at All," and those darkroom classics, "When Lights Are Low," and "Just Squeeze Me."