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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » V » Vaughan, Sarah

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Sarah Vaughan (3/27/1924 - 4/03/1990)

Sarah Vaughan was a natural talent whose extraordinary vocal range, which she navigated fluidly, allowed her to reach operatic highs and rich lows. She earned the nickname of “Divine One” for her superb musicianship and was known as “Sassy” to friends.

Vaughan was trained as a pianist/organist and sang in her church choir. At 18 she won the Apollo Theater’s famed amateur contest leading to a position as singer and second pianist in Earl Hines’ band which included vocalist Billy Eckstine. When Eckstine formed his bop-oriented band in 1944, he brought Sarah with him. Working with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Art Blakey and other early beboppers influenced her ability to improvise like an instrumentalist. She was the first to record Dizzy’s “Night in Tunisia,” known then as “Interlude” and taken at ballad tempo. The following year Vaughan caught the attention of the jazz world with “East of the Sun,” recorded with Gillespie, and “Lover Man” with Gillespie and Parker. Her first big hit was “Tenderly” in 1947.




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