Sassy: The Life Of Sarah Vaughan
Da Capo Press, August 1994. Trade Paperback. Used - Very Good. Item #225718
Sarah Vaughan, brought vividly to life in this definitive biography, possessed the most spectacular voice in jazz history. In Sassy, Leslie Gourse, the acclaimed biographer of Nat King Cole and Joe Williams, defines and celebrates Vaughan's vital musical legacy and offers a detailed portrait of the woman as well as the singer. Revealed here for the first time is "jazz's only diva" as her closest friends and musical associates knew her. Born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 27, 1924, Sarah Vaughan played the organ at the Mount Zion Baptist Church and had been a member of the choir in her youth. By her early twenties she was singing with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Billy Eckstine, and helping them invent bebop. For forty-five years she reigned supreme in both pop and jazz, with several million-selling hits ("Broken Hearted Melody," "Make Yourself Comfortable," "Misty," and others) in the 1950s and 1960s. During the next two decades, she reached vast new audiences as a concert artist. Life offstage was never smooth or dull for Sarah Vaughan. Her voluptuous voice was matched in private by her exuberant appetites for excess: three failed marriages; financial difficulties through many changes of management; and late-night jam sessions, liquor, and cocaine, that inspired and depleted her in equal measure. But in Sassy, Leslie Gourse shows us as well the feisty and unpretentious Sarah Vaughan who worked hard all her life to support her parents and her adopted daughter and who in later years came to savor the hardwon independence and the worldwide acclaim she achieved as the greatest jazz singer of her generation. Sassy: The Life of Sarah Vaughan includes a discographical survey.