Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan, by Elaine M. Hayes
Queen of Bebop chronicles the life of jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the twentieth century and a pioneer of women’s and civil rights.
Sarah Vaughan, a pivotal figure in the formation of bebop, influenced a broad array of singers who followed in her wake, yet the breadth and depth of her impact - not just as an artist, but also as an African-American woman - remain overlooked.
Drawing from a wealth of sources as well as on exclusive interviews with Vaughan’s friends and former colleagues, Queen of Bebop offers insights into this notoriously private woman, her creative process, and, ultimately, her genius. Hayes deftly traces the influence that Vaughan’s singing had on the perception and appreciation of vocalists in jazz.
She reveals how, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Vaughan helped desegregate American airwaves, opening doors for future African-American artists seeking mainstream success, while also setting the stage for the civil rights activism of the 1960s and 1970s.
Equal parts biography, criticism, and good old-fashioned American success story, Queen of Bebop is the definitive biography of a hugely influential artist.
“A lively and moving portrait of the passionate and tenacious jazz singer. Hayes gracefully narrates Vaughan’s life… a detailed look at a fearless singer who constantly moved into new musical territories and left a legacy for younger musicians.” - Publishers Weekly
“Elaine Hayes’ vivid portrait of Sarah Vaughan’s life, times, and indelible musical legacy reveals why she was indeed called The Divine One.” - New York Journal of Books