“I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart“ is a 1938 composition by Duke Ellington….with lyrics added by Irving Mills, Henry Nemo and John Redmond….as this song became a # 1 hit for Ellington in 1938….while other hit versions the same year were by Benny Goodman with Martha Tilton singing, Connee Boswell, Hot Lips Page, and Mildred Bailey.
In this video seen herewith….legendary jazz singer Sarah Vaughan sings “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” at the 1980 Kennedy Center Salute to Duke Ellington…..while being accompanied by Billy Taylor & His All Star Orchestra.
Nicknamed “Sassy” and “The Divine One”….Sarah Vaughan won four Grammy Awards….including the Lifetime Achievement Award…..and was given an NEA Jazz Masters Award in 1989…..whereas, critic Scott Yanow wrote that she had “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century”…..to which parallels have been drawn between Vaughan’s voice and that of opera singers….while jazz singer Betty Carter said that with training Vaughan could have “…gone as far as Leontyne Price”….which made her musical director, Bob James, say that “…the instrument was there. But the knowledge, the legitimacy of that whole world were not for her … But if the aria were in Sarah’s range she could bring something to it that a classically trained singer could not.”
In a chapter devoted to Vaughan in his book Visions of Jazz (2000), critic Gary Giddins described her as the “…ageless voice of modern jazz – of giddy postwar virtuosity, biting wit and fearless caprice”….as he concluded by saying that “No matter how closely we dissect the particulars of her talent … we must inevitably end up contemplating in silent awe the most phenomenal of her attributes, the one she was handed at birth, the voice that happens once in a lifetime, perhaps once in several lifetimes….as her voice had wings: luscious and tensile, disciplined and nuanced, it was as thick as cognac, yet soared off the beaten path like an instrumental solo … that her voice was a four-octave muscle of infinite flexibility made her disarming shtick all the more ironic”