Call her “Sassy,” “Sass,” or “The Divine One,” but Sarah Vaughan had a “once in a lifetime, perhaps once in several lifetimes” voice, as jazz critic Gary Giddins wrote. She won four GRAMMYs, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the NEA Jazz Masters Award.
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What you may not know about Sarah Vaughan:
- She was born in Virginia but the family moved to Newark, N.J., where she grew up.
- The first time Vaughan competed at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, she didn’t sing. She played the piano for her friend, who won 2nd Prize.
- Vaughan went back and won 1st Prize, singing “Body and Soul.”
- For her first big job, Earl “Fatha” Hines used her in his band as a singer, but he hired her as a pianist.
- She lived for years in California and died there, but was buried from her home church, Mount Zion Baptist in Newark.