Sarah Vaughan, in full Sarah Lois Vaughan, byname Sassy or the Divine One, (conceived March 27, 1924, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.— passed on April 3, 1990, Hidden Hills, California), American jazz vocalist and piano player known for her rich voice, with an uncommonly wide range, and for the creativity and virtuosity of her act of spontaneities.
Vaughan was the little girl of novice performers. She started concentrating piano and organ at age seven and sang in the congregation ensemble. In the wake of winning a novice challenge at Harlem’s acclaimed Apollo Theater in 1942, she was procured as a vocalist and second piano player by the Earl Hines Orchestra. After a year she joined the vocalist Billy Eckstine’s band, where she met Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Vaughan’s singing style was affected by their instruments—”I constantly needed to copy the horns.” Gillespie, Parker, and Vaughan recorded “Sweetheart Man” together in 1945.
By the mid-1940s Vaughan started singing with John Kirby and showing up on TV theatrical presentations. During the 1950s her group of spectators developed as she visited both the United States and Europe, and she marked with Mercury Record Corporation and EmArcy, Mercury’s jazz name, in 1953 to sing both pop and jazz. She likewise showed up in three films in that period—Jazz Festival (1956), Disk Jockey (1951), and Basin Street Revue (1956).
A contralto with a scope of three octaves, she came to be viewed as one of the best of all jazz vocalists. Among her best-realized tunes were “It’s Magic,” “Make Yourself Comfortable,” “Beaten down Melody,” “Foggy,” and “Send in the Clowns.” Vaughan kicked the bucket in 1990, that year where she was enlisted into the Jazz Hall of Fame.