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Carol Friedman is a New York-based portrait photographer who has photographed music, art, and business icons for more than two decades. Her award-winning images of jazz, soul, and classical music[…]

An unforgettable evening with the legendary jazz singer.

Question: What is the story behind your rnSarah Vaughan albumrncover?


Carol Friedman: Of all the singers, Sarah rnVaughan is everyrnsinger’s favorite singer, or else they just don’t know. And I was just rnso happyrnto meet her, and it was the ultimate compliment and the ultimate moment rnwhen sherninvited me into her vocal booth and closed the door behind her, so I gotrn tornhear Sarah sing a capella with her headphones on and she made me rnbouillabaissernand requested me to do her album cover. rnIn those days there were no stylists or makeup artists for jazz rnartists.  It was kind of not fair. rn There were budgets for rock and roll,rnbut not for jazz back in that day. And Sarah had, you know, she was a rnbigrnwoman.  She wasn’t petite and itrnwas easy to take an unflattering picture of her.  Let’srn put it that way. rnSo I thought about what I wanted to do and I wanted to do an rnhomage ifrnyou will to the Black-gama campaign that Peter Rogers had done, the rnbrilliantrnPeter Rogers, “What Becomes a Legend Most?” And all of these women rnlegendsrnwould have their fur coats and be hugging themselves in the fur coat. Sorn I hadrnthat story in my mind to do that and the day came and it was the most rnexcitingrnday and I asked that she bring her coat and her gowns and everything andrn shernapparently was terrified of having her picture taken, maybe because she rnhad sornmany bad pictures taken and I went downstairs and she got out of the rnlimousinernshaking her head no.  “I don’t feelrnwell. I’m really sick. Let me go home.” rnAnd she hadn’t even come into the building, so I said just come rnupstairsrnfor a minute.  She came in the doorrnand really like a scared cat said "Bring me a chair," because she didn’trn want torngo further than right inside the door, so she sat there and she peeked rnaroundrnand saw all the lights and got even more scared and she said, “Oh, rnplease,rnplease, I’ll come back tomorrow. I’ll come back tomorrow.” rn And her manager is on the phone saying,rn“Is she there? Don’t let her leave. She’ll never come back.”  And then out of nowhere she said, “Dornyou like chili?”  And I said,rn“Chili as in chili?”  And she said,rn“Yeah.”  She said she had… Sarahrnhad a great, like a little girl speaking voice.  Yourn know she said, “I’ll come back and cook chili for yourntomorrow.”  “Let’s make a shoppingrnlist.”  So my set assistant yournknow chopped me onions, whatever it was that that was on the list and I rnthoughtrnoh, she is tricking herself into coming back to cook for me, whatever.  So I said, “Okay, under onerncondition. You have to leavernyour mink coat here.”  And shernsaid, “No Problem. Nornproblem.”  So I took the coat.  Irn put it in the back.  Walked her downstairs and rnher driverrnwho was…  Her driver back then wasrnequivalent to people’s kind of advance people and bodyguards now.  You know she knew how to protectrnherself and he said, “Where is the coat?” rnAnd I said the coat is staying here and he didn’t like that and Irn said therncoat is staying here and then the manager called me about ten minutes rnlater andrnhe said, “Listen, if you want to leave the house tonight you just call rnme andrnI’ll send a couple of my nephews over to watch the house.” rn So everybody was worried about the coatrnand she did come back right on time, singing, singing, making her chili rnin myrnkitchen saying, “Are you stirring that chili?” while she was having her rnmakeuprnput on, and it’s a picture I’m really proud of.

Recorded on April 21, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen