Sarah Vaughan's contribution to the female jazz vocal genre, during the twentieth century, puts her alongside the likes of Dinah Washington, Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald.
As a child Sarah Vaughan sang in church and had extensive piano lessons from 1931-39, which helped her become a capable keyboardist.
After she won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theatre, she was hired for the Earl Hines big band as a singer and second vocalist.
Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer, described by Jazz commentator/music critic Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century."
Nicknamed "Sailor" (for her salty speech), "Sassy" and "The Divine One", Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its "highest honor in jazz", the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989.
Through the intercession of jazz writer and pianist Leonard Feather, Vaughan recorded her first date as a leader for the small Continental label. Under the production of Feather, Vaughan and Her All-Stars attended their session on New Year's Eve 1944. Acting as the session's producer and pianist, Feather assembled such sidemen as Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Georgie Auld to cut four sides: “Signing Off,” Feather's “No Smoke Blues,” Gillespie's “Interlude” (a vocal version of “Night in Tunisia”), and “East of the Sun,” on which Gillespie replaced Feather on keyboard.On a second session, Feather relinquished the piano duties to Nat Jaffe, and brought together Gillespie and Charlie Parker.