Sarah Vaughan was called “the divine one” in reference to her infamous voice, which spanned ranges as easily as it did arpeggios. Even today, she’s heralded as one of the jazz masters, and her catalog still inspires everyone from seasoned pros to up-and-coming singers. Case in point is Delilah, a Hungarian-born vocalist who’s not quite an up-and-comer, but nevertheless, draws motivation from Vaughan. Now, she’s taking that admiration to another level with her EP, Delilah Sings Sarah + 1, a four-track collection of some of Vaughan’s best-known tunes done in Delilah’s signature style.
First up is “September in the Rain,” a wonderful standard that is given the superstar treatment here with a delicate update that brings it into 2015 fully restored. The bittersweet “Just Friends” checks in before Delilah delivers a sultry tango “Whatever Lola Wants.” Though this version is a little tamer than some of the best-known renditions, it still ranks up there with the classics. Finally, the EP’s “+1” is the timeless Charlie Chaplin-composed “Smile,” which Vaughan first recorded in 1936 for Modern Times. Delilah’s impassioned deliver of the Turner/Parsons lyrics is divine and is the perfect cap to a lovely set.
In the current era, it seems like great jazz singers get a little lost in the shuffle or classified as obsolete altogether. But those in the know are aware of how important the medium is today and will remain for tomorrow. Delilah is keeping the spirit of a bygone movement alive and interpreting it for a new generation. Sarah Vaughan would be proud.