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Sassy: the Life of Sarah Vaughan Hardcover – 12 Jan 1993

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall & IBD; First British Edition edition (12 Jan 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684193175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684193175
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,287,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Sometimes the regular organist at the First Mount Zion Baptist Church in the Ironbound, or Down Neck, section of Newark, New Jersey, wasn't able to play for Sunday church services, so Sarah Lois Vaughan took over the job. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Prompt delivery, well paickaged and a great read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Kim Lehmann 12 Sep 2003
By Kim Germaine Judd - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this book. I've been a Sarah Vaughan fan for many years and I've even met her briefly once at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. As this is the only biography of her, I suppose that I can't really trash it because I'm so grateful somebody wrote one. Nonetheless, it doesn't have nearly enough detail for me, and it gives very little insight into how she developed such incredible vocal talents and why she didn't become more famous as she deserved to be. It's an interesting read, however, for any Sarah Vaughan fan, who, like me, is hungry for information about her. Because she gave so few interviews, I guess it's difficult to really get into her head and this book doesn't do a particularly good job at helping the reader to really understand or know Sarah Vaughan. The chapter covering her illness is sparse at best, and as an African American singer, I would like to know more of how it was for a young Black woman to make her way to the top of her field in such a competitive and male dominated environment. The book touches on these issues sporadically, but certainly doesn't attempt to analyze it or answer any questions the reader may have about it. After reading this book, I have a bit more knowledge about Sarah Vaughan, but I must say that she remains an enigma. Perhaps that's not the fault of the writer, but maybe some people just can't be known. Sarah Vaughan was known to detest interviews and was apparently very private and shy. Perhaps she will always be an enigma. Her singing talent certainly was. I can only hope that more and better biographies are on the way.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Adequate 29 Sep 2003
By D. Davis - Published on
Format: Paperback
While Gourse's biography of the Divine One traverses Vaughan's life decade by decade, it does so in a very cursory way, so if you know anything at all of Vaughan's life, you've probably already been exposed to most of the contents of this biography. While this book is decent in its cursory examination of Vaughan's life and her wonderful contributions to American and world music, one doesn't go away from this book feeling he or she has encountered Vaughan on an intimate level...the Devil's in the details, but it seems as though many of the details that would have allowed for an ampler and fuller study of Vaughan on a quotidian level were not provided. There are some interesting photographs of Vaughan, her family, her friends, her coterie of fans and colleagues, included in this biography, but those pictures should have been in bold, beautiful color, full pages, allowing the reader to see the vagaries of Vaughan in all her glamour, sophistication, and wit. One will learn more from listening to Vaughan's vast recording history. Still, this book will be of interest to Sass's devoted fans.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Terribly written 24 Aug 2009
By N. Lucero - Published on
Format: Paperback
The only good thing I can say about this horribly written book is that the author's love of her subject comes through.
If only she could write! It sounds like an 8th graders school report. I don't understand how she continues to be published - she's been gracing bookstore shelves with her inept writings for years now...her subjects deserve better.

Buy Sarah's records and let the music speak for itself.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sassy Sarah Vaughan! 11 April 2007
By Sylviastel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hope Sarah Vaughan will be inducted in the inaugural New Jersey Hall of Fame for her services to Arts and Entertainment. It might be a few years but I think Sassy Sarah is well worth the wait. The biography is detailed but not enough in my opinion. Sassy Sarah had an amazing life as a singer and entertainer. Even though she smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, it never affected her voice. Her love of music kept her going until her dying day. I would have liked to learn more about the professional relationship between Quincy Jones and Sassy Sarah. Her personal life was typical of successful artists who don't know how to handle their money or finances. In the end, Sassy Sarah left an amazing legacy. She is the pride of Newark, New Jersey. I hoped that my students would have enjoyed her music or experienced her greatness but sadly Sarah Vaughan's legacy seems all but forgotten in her hometown. There is a street named after her but it's very small. She is buried nearby in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
I would love to see somebody like Queen Latifah bring Sassy Sarah Vaughan to life on stage, in a television special, or film. I bet this fellow New Jerseyan would have a mantelful of awards for her performance. Sarah Vaughan was one of the great singers of the last century and everybody in Newark should know the voice and the name.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Only Scratches the Surface but Okay 10 Nov 2013
By Richard - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book gave readers a peep backstage and through the peephole of her front door; however, not enough about Sarah Vaughan from Sarah Vaughan. I wish the writer had interviewed more people that really knew her and not just musicians. For instance family members, school teachers, boyfriends, husbands, drug dealers, doctors, etc. Since we know that she used illegal substances, did she ever get arrested or come close. Most of what the book revealed was surface stuff.
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