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Sassy's Happy Sobs: Sarah Vaughan at the White House

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Sarah Vaughan

An article in the Sunday, November 9 New York Times about the history of African-American visitors to the White House came with a jazz twist at the end involving Sarah Vaughan. Vaughan performed at the White House in 1964 as part of a state dinner hosted by president Lyndon B. Johnson for the prime minister of Japan. In Leslie Gourse’s Vaughan biography pianist Bob James described the singer’s nervousness before her appearance in the East Room, an area with an intimacy that James compared to “working in a living room.” The article concludes:

Bess Abell, who was Johnson’s White House social secretary, vividly remembers a state dinner at which Sarah Vaughan sang but, after dinner, disappeared.

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This story appears courtesy of Night Lights Classic Jazz.
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