Sarah Vaughan

Considered one of the greatest singers in jazz history, Sarah Vaughan was famous for the extraordinarily broad range and dexterity of her voice which produced numerous hits like That Lucky Old Sun, I'm Crazy To Love You, I Cried For You and Send In The Clowns and earned her the nickname "the divine one". The daughter of a guitar-playing carpenter, she was raised in a deeply religious family in Newark, New Jersey and, learning to play piano at the age of seven, had her first singing experience in church choirs. By her mid-teens she was singing in local clubs, dropping out of high school to move to New York and pursue her dream of being a professional singer. Her big break came when she won an amateur talent contest at Harlem's Zeus Theatre singing Body & Soul and as part of her prize, she got the chance to sing at Harlem's famous Apollo as support act to Ella Fitzgerald. Here she met the bandleader Earl Hines and his singer Billy Eckstine, resulting - in 1943 - in her joining the Hines band on tour. It also triggered the start of her recording career with I'll Wait & Pray and, going on to work with such jazz luminaries as Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Kenny Dorham and Dexter Gordon, Vaughan became known as "Sassy". In 1945 she went out on her own, recording Lover Man with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker and had a series of other major hits through the rest of the decade, including Don't Blame Me, I've Got A Crush On You, Tenderly and Nature Boy. In 1953 she switched from Columbia to the Mercury label and the hits continued with How Important Can It Be (with Count Basie), Banana Boat Song, Misty and Broken Hearted Melody. She toured constantly through the 1950s and, after a lull in the next decade, her career had a re-birth in the 1970s when she worked with conductor/arranger Michel Legrand and recorded her classic version of Send In The Clowns. In 1977 Vaughan recorded an album of Beatles songs and sang Lost Weekend on the Godley & Crème album Consequences. In 1979 she recorded an acclaimed album of Brazilian music, Copacabana, and continued to play concerts in the 1980s, recording her final album Brazilian Romance with Sergio Mendes in 1987. Performing in New York in 1989, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and died the following year, shortly after her 66th birthday.

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Stations Featuring Sarah Vaughan

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