Barbra Streisand, Live At The Village Vanguard? She rarely appears onstage anymore. But now she's returning to the legendary New York jazz club where she once opened for Miles Davis. Venue proprietor Lorraine Gordon talks about the upcoming show.
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Barbra Streisand, Live At The Village Vanguard?

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Barbra Streisand, Live At The Village Vanguard?

Barbra Streisand, Live At The Village Vanguard?

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Barbra Streisand rarely appears in live concerts anymore, but tonight she takes the stage at New York's legendary Village Vanguard to perform songs from her new album, a collection of jazz standards and classics called "Love is the Answer."

The club's proprietor, Lorraine Gordon, joins us now. Ms. Gordon, thanks very much for being with us.

Ms. LORRAINE GORDON (Proprietor, Village Vanguard): Well, thank you. It's my pleasure to be with you.

SIMON: I understand Barbra Streisand first performed at your club 48 years ago. Could you tell us the story of how that happened?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GORDON: I can't - I wish my husband was here, Max Gordon. She was here, and she did hang out, and she was a young singer. Nobody knew that especially, except maybe her friends. Anyway, she wanted to sing down here, and Miles Davis was playing at the time, and Max asked Miles, as the story goes, if he'd accompany her, and Miles, in his inimitable fashion, said I don't play for no girls, and he didn't, but she did get on to sing, and it was beautiful.

Stars didn't fall out of the sky yet. That was a little premature, but then my husband brought her up to a club he had on the East Side, very fancy place called the Blue Angel, and there she stayed for a good week, and that's where she really took off, and from there she went into the theater.

SIMON: "Funny Girl," I guess, right?

Ms. GORDON: No, "I Can Get It for You Wholesale."

SIMON: Ah, okay, before "Funny Girl."

Ms. GORDON: Well, yes. She just jumped from one thing to another and did it all very well. That's how she started.

SIMON: How did the performance this weekend come about?

Ms. GORDON: It was her idea. I never asked for it, and of course I was delighted and pleased, and she's a person who remembers her life and doesn't forget, and I think — if I can put thoughts in her head — that she remembers those early days down here and remembers my husband, I'd like to think. I mean, there's been a very big response to her, but unfortunately it's not for a public thing, you know. She's only here for one night. I wish it were a week, but it isn't.

SIMON: What's it mean to you to be able to host this at your club?

Ms. GORDON: What does it mean to me? Well, you host great jazz talents 52 weeks a year. The Vanguard is going to be 75 years old next February. So it's been hosting I cannot tell you how many people of great fame who started out unknown perhaps, became famous.

When I say hosting, we're not hosting, they work here. They're great musicians and artists, get paid to work, and love it here, and they make recordings here, and the sound is good. So I have never, if want to call it hosting, done this before.

SIMON: It seems to me, Ms. Gordon, that you've got a request for a song coming from Barbra Streisand. Would you make one? Anything you'd particularly like to hear her sing?

Ms. GORDON: Perhaps something from her new album because the things she's singing on this album are all songs, melodies, that I grew up with, and I love them. Ooh, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." Yeah, I like that. That's what I'd like to hear.

(Soundbite of song, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes")

Ms. BARBRA STREISAND (Singer): (Singing) They said someday you'll find all who love are blind. When your heart's on fire, you must realize smoke gets in your eyes.

Ms. GORDON: I mean, these are beautiful, beautiful compositions and songs that she's singing. This is not your usual run-of-the-mill music that we hear today.

SIMON: Well, Ms. Gordon, it's been a pleasure talking to you. Thanks so much for your time.

Ms. GORDON: Well, thank you for calling me.

SIMON: Lorraine Gordon, owner of the Village Vanguard in New York. Barbra Streisand's going to be there tonight, but assuming you aren't one of the luck 100 or so who can get inside, you can watch the concert on her Web site next week.

(Soundbite of song, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes")

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