Sassy: The Life Of Sarah Vaughan

Front Cover
Hachette Books, Aug 5, 2009 - Music - 320 pages
Sarah Vaughan 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 is ”The Divine One” as only her closest friends and musical associates knew her. By her early twenties Sarah Vaughan was singining with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Billy Eckstine, helping them invent bebop. For forty-five years thereafter, she reigned supreme in both pop and jazz, with several million-selling hits (among them ”Broken Hearted Melody,” ”Make Yourself Comfortable,” and ”Misty”).But life offstage was never smooth for Sarah Vaughan. Her voluptuous voice was matched by her exuberant appetite for excess: three failed marriages, financial difficulties through many changes in management, late-night jam sessions, liquor, and cocaine. In Sassy, though, we also see the feisty and unpretentious woman who worked hard all her life to support her parents and adopted daughter, and who came to savor the hard-won independence and worldwide acclaim she achieved as the greatest jazz singer of her generation.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - harrietbrown - LibraryThing

The rise of the amazing singer, Sarah Vaughan, from show-stopping teenaged songstress at the Apollo Theater, to the heights of the classical music world, with her collaboration with Michael Tilson Thomas. How she stayed "Sassy" all the way, and never missed a beat. Read full review

SASSY: The Life of Sarah Vaughan

User Review  - Kirkus

Life of the ``Divine One,'' by the author of the well-received Nat King Cole bio Unforgettable (1991). Gourse has a lively subject in Vaughan (1924-90), whose voice was a soaring and dipping bebop ... Read full review


Lets Go Pick Some Ditties
Portrait of the Artiste as a Young Songbird
Enter George Treadwell
The Bitch Is a Genius
What Happened to the Money?
At the Top of the Jazz World
A Bad Marriage
Muddling through the Sixties
A New Man a New Record Contract a New Outlook
The Divine One Becomes a Concert Artist
The Divine One Goes to Harvard
A Mistake Made Late in Life
Winning an Emmy a Grammy and Other Honors
Send in the Clowns

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Leslie Gourse is the author of Everyday: The Story of Joe Williams, Unforgettable: The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole, and Louis’ Children: American Jazz Singers.

Bibliographic information