Last month Armin Büttner posted this previously unpublished 1950’s photo of Sarah Vaughan on his blog celebrating the Crown Propeller Lounge in Chicago. (For more about photo’s back story, see Doug Ramsey’s Rifftides post here.) Vaughan is enjoying a night out with friends, including boxing champion Joe Louis and trumpeter King Kolax. I love the nostalgia of these kinds of photos. They provide a glimpse into Vaughan’s life offstage, when she wasn’t performing. They’re candid and almost private, but not quite – Vaughan is clearly posing for the camera.Read More
In my last post, I wrote about how Sarah Vaughan was an intensely private woman leading a public life, and how she kept her fans, members of the press, and even, sometimes, her own family at a distance.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about why that was and how it influences my work as her biographer. Part of my job is to tease out the details of her life, provide a glimpse into the woman behind the scenes, the private Vaughan. But what does a biographer do when her subject doesn’t cooperate? How much do I extrapolate from the information I do have? In other words, how do I read an absence? And how do I respect my subject and her desire for privacy while satisfying the desires of readers in search of an intimate portrait of a performer they admire?Read More
I love this picture of Sarah Vaughan reclining. It’s an unguarded, almost stolen moment. And as her biographer, I’m always searching for these kinds of private moments, glimpses into the woman behind the art. This is not an easy task.Read More