The Incomparable Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan is one of the big three of classic female jazz singers, alongside Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Here is how the bio of “Sassy” starts at the site of Ken Burns’ PBS series Jazz:

Sarah Vaughan sang in the choir of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Newark, as a child, where at the age of 12 she became organist. In October 1942, she won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theatre; shortly afterwards, in April 1943, she joined Earl Hines’ big band as second pianist and singer to Hines and Billy Eckstine. Eckstine formed his own bop-oriented big band early in 1944, and Vaughan joined him a few months later, making her first recording with his orchestra on December 31. She left Eckstine after about a year, and thereafter, except for a brief stay in John Kirby’s group in winter 1945-6, she worked only as a soloist. (Continue Reading…)

Here are Vaughan’s discography. Her obituary in The New York Times was written by Stephen Holden. Here is part of what he wrote, at only 66 years of age:

In a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Miss Vaughan influenced countless other singers – including Phoebe Snow, Anita Baker, Sade and Rickie Lee Jones – and made hits of such songs as ”It’s Magic,” ”Make Yourself Comfortable” and ”Broken-Hearted Melody.” Her ornate renditions of ”Misty” and ”Send In the Clowns” were invariable show-stoppers at jazz festivals in recent years, including the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, at which she appeared almost yearly. (Continue Reading…)

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