SARAH MAUD CELEBRATES SARAH VAUGHAN SUNDAY AT JAZZ DEPOT
As one of the most prominent of the young musicians currently impacting Tulsa’s jazz scene, vocalist Sarah Maud can be seen and heard around town in varied musical settings. One of the most engaging is Maud Squad, an inventive avant-garde trio that features Maud exploring the use of her voice as an instrument, in tandem with Jordan Hehl’s bass and Nicholas Foster’s drums.
That idea – along with Hehl and Foster – carries over into her Sunday Jazz Depot show, Sarah on Sarah: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan. As the title indicates, the concert will consist of numbers associated with the late jazz star, and Maud, who admits to liking “more obscure songs,” has selected at least one tune that will allow her to illustrate how a voice can also be an instrument.
The song is “Shulie a Bop,” the first track on Vaughan’s 1957 LP Swingin’ Easy. Co-written by Vaughan and her then-manager and husband, the trumpeter George Treadwell, “Shuile a Bop” is, Maud notes, “a really big scat number, which is something I’m not sure people expect me to do.”
That kind of frustrates me,” she adds, “because vocalists have the ability to be instrumentalists. But that’s one of those things people just don’t think about.”
Chances are, the Jazz Hall audience will be thinking a lot about it after they hear her perform the challenging tune, accompanied not only by Hehl and Foster, but also guitarist Josh Westbrook and saxophonist Mike Cameron.
“I’m really excited about that one,” she says. “It’s going to be fun.”
In fact, she’s excited about the whole concert, which gives her a chance to acknowledge one of her biggest musical heroes.
“When I started doing jazz, Sarah Vaughan was a huge influence on me,” she explains. “It’s just the thickness of her voice, that smooth, warm sound she had. Also, I realized through time that I basically stole her vibrato.” She laughs. “I stole her vibrato, but I took Ella’s timing on when to use it. I didn’t realize I was doing it. I guess when you listen to someone so much, it just happens.”
Maud started listening to jazz as a kid, but she didn’t really begin sorting out the approaches and styles of the different vocalists until she was in high school – only a few years ago.
“That was really when I started paying attention,” she says, “because I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do.”
As she began singing for audiences and putting together her own shows, she usually included a few songs associated with Vaughan, including Vaughan’s take on Ray Noble’s famous big-band tune “Cherokee” (from the 1955 disc Sarah Vaughan in the Land of Hi-Fi) and the Vaughan version of the classic “All of Me” (because, notes Maud, “that scat solo is just awesome”). Then came the opportunity to do a full-length Vaughan concert, thanks to Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO Jason McIntosh.
“I was talking to Jason, and he was asking me what I would like to do for a show,” she remembers. “He first suggested Blossom Dearie. I thought, no, I didn’t really want to do that, because I’d done a Blossom Dearie show with Annie Ellicott [at the Jazz Depot in November 2012]. So I thought about who the huge influences have been in my life. I didn’t want to do Ella, because that’s done so much, so I asked him, `How long has it been since someone’s done a Sarah Vaughan show?’
“He said, `It probably hasn’t been done for a long time.’
“I thought that would be perfect. I’d love to do her music, and it would be a good opportunity to pay tribute to her – and to kind of thank her for letting me steal her stuff,” Maud concludes with another laugh.
Sarah Maud’s Sarah on Sarah: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, August 24, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St.
Tickets can be purchased at the Depot, from http://www.myticketoffice.com, or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609. General admission is $15, reserved table seating $20. Seniors and Jazz Hall members are admitted for $10, and high school and junior high students for $5.
The show is a part of the Jazz Hall’s 2014 Summer Concert Series.
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.