Live in Japan is a live album by the American jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, recorded on September 24, 1973 at the Nakano Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
Originally issued on two LPs, the two volumes were released separately. A double compact disc set was issued in 1993. In 2007, the United States Library of Congress honored the album by adding it to the National Recording Registry.
The album received fulsome praise in the original LP sleeve-notes by distinguished jazz critic Nat Hentoff: "There is Sarah's striking sense of design. The basic framework of each song is carefully structured and personalised, and that makes her frequently stunning improvisations … all the more absorbing. … Hers is so resonant and rich a sound you feel you can almost touch it … in sum a nonpareil illustration of a master singer at the peak of her expressive energies." Three songs (A Foggy Day, The Lamp is Low and All Of Me) are taken double fast and last less than two minutes, others stretch out to an expansive seven minutes plus. Vaughan is clearly in ebullient mood throughout as is shown from her easy banter with the audience and that she plays the piano on one track. There is a wordless version of Willow Weep For Me as, as she confesses, she had completely forgotten the lyrics. The encore is Bye Bye Blackbird, as suggested by a member of the audience, and this was the very first time Sarah had recorded that particular song.
The initial Billboard review from December 15, 1973 commented that "Sarah's virtuosity is something constant…she is superb is gliding, floating, soaring, caressing each word, each note, breaking down words into syllables and extracting the true meaning from each phrase." The review described Vaughan's performance of "Wave" as "a soft, delicate experience in which the scales the vocal spectrum."
In his 2003 book Jazz on Record: The First Sixty Years, critic Scott Yanow described Live in Japan as featuring Vaughan at the "height of her powers" and wrote that "Sassy's voice is often heard in miraculous form on this set."
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