Who is Sarah Vaughan?

Sarah Vaughan also known as Sassy or The Divine One was a jazz vocalist. Most known for her wide range and her originality of improvisation during songs. 

 

Early Life

Vaughan was born in Newark, New Jersey on March 27, 1924. Her parents were both musicians, which led Sarah to be musically inclined by the age of 7. She learned how to play the organ, piano, and sang at her baptist church. She entered a talent competition at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. In 1942 she won the  competition with her interpretation of “Body and Soul.” Billy Eckstine saw her performance and told Earl Hinds to hire her for his orchestra, which he did. This began Sarah Vaughan’s career.

 

Abstract

This post will be about a famous jazz musician and how she became a trailblazer for not only women in jazz, but jazz as a whole.Vaughan popularized the art of Jazz singing . Sarah Vaughan had a 3 octave range. This post will explain why she has the name “Queen of Bebop”. 

 

 

Rise of Music Career

Vaughan became a pianist and singer in Eckstine’s big band in 1943. The following year, she made her first recording. She left Eckstine and became a vocal soloist in the John Kirby band. 

 

Dizzy Gillespie, a very popular jazz performer, often sang her phrases. That helped her gain fame and recognition by other popular jazz musicians. She rebranded her look and recorded music regularly with Columbia Records. They worked with her on a May 25, 1945, session as well, which was highlighted by her vocal version of Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia,” called “Interlude” on the album. In the 1960s, Vaughan made records with bandleaders such as Count Basie, Benny Carter, Frank Foster, and Quincy Jones on the Mercury and Roulette labels among others.She became internationally recognized at this point. 

 

 

Success 

Sarah Vaughan won two grammy awards and was nominated for 8. 

She won the 

  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the 30TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS (1987) 

 

  • BEST JAZZ VOCAL PERFORMANCE, FEMALE Gershwin Live! (1982)

 

She was nominated for 

  • BEST JAZZ VOCAL PERFORMANCE, FEMALE  Brazilian Romance (Album),

  • BEST JAZZ VOCAL PERFORMANCE, DUO OR GROUP Blue (Track), 

  • BEST JAZZ VOCAL PERFORMANCE, FEMALE Crazy And Mixed Up (Album),

  •  Sarah Vaughan: Duke Ellington Song Book One (Album), 

  • BEST JAZZ VOCAL PERFORMANCE I Love Brazil (Album), 

  • BEST JAZZ VOCAL PERFORMANCE

How Long Has This Been Going On (Album), 

  • BEST JAZZ VOCAL PERFORMANCE

More Sarah Vaughan Live In Japan (Album), 

  • BEST PERFORMANCE BY A “TOP 40” ARTIST Broken Hearted Melody,

She was invited to perform at the White House and Carnegie Hall. 

Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

 

Later Years 

People knew Sarah Vaughan to be versatile. Her voice would go from baritone to soprano. In the 1970s and 1980s she used a dark voice that was very deep and created an alluring tone. Some say this is due to her smoking habit. “ In front of an audience, her emotional, vibrato-rich delivery, three-octave vocal range and captivating scat technique were even more appealing.” 

 

At this time she was into making Brazilian music.

 

She gave her final performance at New York’s Blue Note Club in 1989. 

She died the next year from lung cancer on April 3, 1990, at age 66, in Hidden Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. 


To this day Sarah Vaughan has a lasting impact on women in music and jazz. She went into a male dominated industry and beat the odds. She became a great success and is well respected. Many jazz singers came after Vaughan and credited her for their style. She was so influential on the genre that she was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1990.

Sarah Vaughan – Misty (Live from Sweden) Mercury Records 1964

References

Gavin, J. (2017, July 20). A New Biography Looks at Sarah Vaughan, the Singer Known as Sassy (Published 2017). The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/books/review/queen-of-bebop-sarah-vaughan-biography-elaine-m-hayes-.html

Hoeffler, P. (n.d.). Sarah Vaughan. National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.arts.gov/honors/jazz/sarah-vaughan

Sarah Vaughan | About Sarah Vaughan | American Masters. (2005, October 8). PBS. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/sarah-vaughan-about-sarah-vaughan/723/#

Sarah Vaughan | American singer and pianist. (n.d.). Britannica. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sarah-Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan – Songs, – Biography. (n.d.). Biography (Bio.). Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.biography.com/musician/sarah-vaughan