The Sassy and the Divine One, Ms. Sarah Vaughan –
By Tashaira Rankin
In considering a female artist to review, I felt drawn to discuss where the female artist came from. I chose someone who is not talked about, who many people don’t know about. I chose Sarah Vaughan to shed light on a forgotten idol in music history.
Sarah Vaughan, also known as Sassy and the Divine One, was born on March 27, 1924, in Newark, New Jersey. When Vaughan won during a competition at the historic Harlem’s Apollo Theater, her career skyrocketed. She became a singer and pianist for the Earl Hines Orchestra and soon went onto Billy Eckstine’s band, where she met Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. This fateful meet lead to Vaughan’s introduction of bebop. Being inspired by Gillespie and Parker’s sound, Vaughan started to merge bebop into her music. After her time with Billy Eckstine, she joined John Kirby. With Kirby, she became renowned around the world.
Soon after joining Kirby, she left to become a soloist. She continued to work with many bandleaders and made hit records. A couple of well-known records by Vaughan are “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Summertime.” Vaughan has been awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement. On April 3, 1990, Vaughan passed away from lung cancer. She left behind her adopted daughter, Paris Vaughan.
It is imperative we remember The Sassy and Divine One as a female artist who was a cornerstone in the infancy of modern music history.
Vocalist Sarah Vaughan sings at the Newport Jazz Festival’s closing night on July 3, 1967 in Newport, R.I. (AP Photo)