WordPress Version 4.7 was released yesterday by the name of Sarah Vaughan and I could not be more thrilled.
First Dinah Washington, then Billie Holliday and now “Sassy” Sarah! Now I can stop kvetching that WordPress doesn’t name enough versions after women. Thank you Mr. Mullenweg! Great choice.
For next time, let me suggest Nina Simone.
The Incredible Sarah
Sarah Vaughan was a singer with one of the most amazing voices in jazz. Her voice was like liquid silver, all shiny and smooth and silky, and with perfect pitch and an expansive range, she could have been an opera singer.
Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1924, Vaughan had the good fortune of being raised in a stable middle class family and she managed to live clean without drug or alcohol problems. As a child, she sang in church and developed into a capable keyboardist.
Winning an amateur vocal contest at New York’s Apollo Theater got her a gig with the the Earl Hines Big Band. She later worked with the Billy Eckstine orchestra where she met Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie who inspired her to add Bop to her repertoire.
As a solo artist she recorded for several labels: Verve/Polygram on “Sarah Vaughan” in 1954, with Emarcy for “In the Land of Hi-Fi” in 1955, Giants of Jazz on “Sassy” in 1956, followed by songbook recordings of Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Count Basie, Irving Berlin, Ellington, Mancini, the Beatles, and Broadway Hits throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Her signature song is the goose-pimple inducing, “Send in the Clowns.”
Ironically, Vaughan didn’t want to be classified as a jazz singer, telling Down Beat magazine in 1984:
“I’ve recorded all kinds of music, but (to them) I’m either a jazz singer or a blues singer. I can’t sing a blues – just a right-out blues – but I can put the blues in whatever I sing. I might sing ‘Send In the Clowns’ and I might stick a little bluesy part in it, or any song. What I want to do, music-wise, is all kinds of music that I like, and I like all kinds of music.”
Nicknamed, “Sassy” and “The Divine One,” Sarah Vaughan was a four-time Grammy Award winner and a winner of the National Endowment for the Arts “highest honor in jazz”, the NEA Jazz Masters Award.
Sarah Vaughan continued to record and tour until she died in Los Angeles of lung cancer in 1990 at the age of 66.
Here she is, months before her death, still belting it out:
Please, send in the clowns.
Read More about Jazz in WordPress
Send in WordPress 4.7
Lots of exciting features are packed into this version of WordPress, allowing it to live up the the style and class of a jazz legend like Sarah Vaughan.
WordPress 4.7 launches a new theme called Twenty Seventeen while it’s still 2016!
Twenty Seventeen offers the parallax style that’s so in vogue tight now, where text and images float sleekly over a background image or video.
This is an effect that used to only be offered in premium themes, but are becoming available for free. Silky smooth, like Sarah.
Not only that, Twenty Seventeen comes with starter demo content, just like premium themes. So you can mess with the look and feel of your site before uploading your own text and images.
Yet more options are available in Appearance>Customizer, like little icons that pop up in the viewer to show you which features can be changed when you click on them.
Time was, you couldn’t add a page to your menu until it published. In the WordPress 4.7 Customizer, you can create a new page, add it to the menu and publish it – all before populating that page!
There’s a certain timeless beauty to that.
Finally, a CSS module that is not connected to Jetpack! This is where you can add Style Sheet code to customize your site when the theme won’t do it for you.
With WordPress 4.7, your PDF files will generate thumbnail images so you can visually identify them with pictures instead of seeing that boring old page icon.
Same file, but dressed in a sexier gown.
Changes in the dressing room
Stuff the backend developers will appreciate include:
Post Type Templates
By opening up the page template functionality to all post types, theme developers have even more flexibility with the WordPress template hierarchy.
More Theme API Goodies
WordPress 4.7 includes new functions, hooks, and behavior for theme developers.
Custom Bulk Actions
List tables, now with more than bulk edit and delete.
The code that lies beneath actions and filters has been overhauled and modernized, fixing bugs along the way.
Settings Registration API
register_setting() has been enhanced to include type, description, and REST API visibility.
Customize change sets make changes in the customizer persistent, like autosave drafts. They also make exciting new features like starter content possible.
Something good in 2016
It’s been a helluva year, 2016, with so many heartbreaking deaths of entertainment icons, wars, disasters, and the most calamitous presidential election in U.S history.
But, WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan” is finally something to smile about. And you don’t even have to be a jazz fan! It makes me look forward to playing with the Twenty Seventeen theme.
What do you think?
Would you like to learn how to change the look of your WordPress site without the help of a developer?
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