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Many of us can imagine Sarah Vaughan’s iconic voice in an instant. Born in 1924 in New Jersey, Vaughan’s vocal career spanned more than four decades. Her mom was a laundress and church vocalist, while her dad was a carpenter and amateur guitarist. After growing up surrounded by music, when Vaughan was 18, her friends dared her to enter the famed Wednesday Night Amateur Contest at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. She sang “Body and Soul,” and won first prize. In the audience that night was the singer Billy Eckstine. Six months later, she had joined Eckstine in Earl Hines’s big band along with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

Vaughan’s performances, even into her 60s, were exceptional. “Her multi-octave range, with its swooping highs and sensual lows, and the youthful suppleness of her voice shaded by a luscious timbre and executed with fierce control, all remained intact.” She is considered perhaps the best vocalist.

Cecile McLorin Salvant says of Vaughan: “She was an absolute virtuoso, and she could have so many colors and textures with her voice. When I moved to France and started singing jazz and studying it, she was maybe the first person that I would copy.”

We are celebrating the Centennial year of Sarah Vaughan with a performance of her music by Denver vocalist Myra Warren. Warren has a stunningly beautiful voice that resonates with warmth and understanding of lyrics and melody. Her career began in the mid-80s in Denver’s Five Points. She has performed with Ellyn Rucker and pianist Eric Gunnison, along with performances at the Five Points Jazz Festival, the Estes Park Jazz Festival and the City Park Jazz Festival. Myra is featured as the band singer in the Netflix movie “Our Souls At Night”, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017, singing “What A Difference A Day Made” in a scene filmed at Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel. Myra is currently the vocalist with Purnell Steen and the Five Points Ambassadors.

Myra Warren – Vocals

Tenia Nelson – Piano

Mark Diamond – Bass

Jill Frederickson – drums


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Gift of Jazz Presents: A Centennial Tribute to Sarah Vaughan feat. Myra Warren


March 24
6:30 pm
$15 – $25


1080 14th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 839-5100

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