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The Postal Service Immortalizes Legendary Jazz Vocalist Sarah Vaughan

A high-resolution image of the stamp is available for media use only by emailing roy.a.betts@usps.gov.

NEWARK, N.J., March 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Postal Service today dedicated a Forever Stamp honoring Sarah Vaughan, one of America's greatest singers. The ceremony was held in her hometown at the Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall at Newark Symphony Hall.

The stamp is the seventh in the Postal Service's Music Icons series, which includes Lydia Mendoza, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Elvis Presley. Vaughan fans are asked to share this news using the hashtags #Musicicons and #SarahVaughanForever.

"As one of the most compelling vocalists in American history, Sarah Vaughan was renowned for her artistic eloquence. Her dynamic vocal range, iconic vibrato, and innovative phrasing helped to transform jazz and popular music," said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, who dedicated the stamp.

"The Postal Service is proud to honor Sarah Vaughan," Stroman said. "Let this stamp serve as a lasting tribute to her legacy."

Stroman was joined at the stamp dedication by Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Melba Moore. The ceremony featured a proclamation from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and a video tribute to Vaughan that included remarks by legendary singer Tony Bennett. There were musical performances by Moore, vocalist Carrie Jackson, the Mount Zion Baptist Church Choir, and the NJPAC Jazz for Teens Ensemble with Jazzmeia Horn. WGBO radio host Rhonda Hamilton served as emcee.

The stamp event was co-sponsored by Newark Celebration 350, which commemorates the city's rich history by celebrating the talents of its citizenry.

The stamp features an oil painting of Vaughan in performance based on a photograph shot in 1955 by Hugh Bell. The stamp pane is designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes the stamps and a brief text about Vaughan's career with the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out of the top of the sleeve. A larger version of the art featured on the stamp, the logo for the Music Icons series, and a list of some of Vaughan's most popular songs appear on the reverse side. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp and the stamp pane with art created by Bart Forbes.

Resonance Records with the cooperation of National Public Radio (NPR) also announced the release of Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy's, New Orleans on March 25, 2016. The deluxe 2-CD set is comprised exclusively of newly discovered recordings by Ms. Vaughan capturing the legendary jazz singer's live performance at Rosy's Jazz Club on May 31, 1978.

Customers may purchase the Sarah Vaughan Forever stamp at usps.com/stamps, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also is available at ebay.com/stamps.

Sarah Vaughan Profile
Sarah Vaughan was born on March 27, 1924, in Newark, New Jersey. Her father was a carpenter; her mother, a laundress. Their daughter's musical talent was nurtured in church. After taking piano lessons for several years, she became an accomplished pianist. When she began playing organ to accompany other singers, she later remembered, she felt like she wanted to sing, too.

Singing with the church choir, she revealed her glorious vocal talent. Her voice ranged over three octaves, and she exercised virtuosic control over it; swooping from high to low and back, she could stretch a single syllable into several. She was still in her teens when she won an amateur contest at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1942. Singer Billy Eckstine, who saw her perform there, recommended her to his employer, the pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines. In spring 1943, she returned to the Apollo as a professional vocalist and second pianist with Hines and his band. When Eckstine departed months later to form his own band, she soon joined him.

Many of the greatest jazz musicians of the day played with Hines and Eckstine, including saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, masters of the emerging bebop style. Vaughan's musicianship matched that of the supremely talented artists around her. With her talent for melodic and rhythmic improvisation and exceptionally skillful phrasing, her singing incorporated many of their techniques. Her classic recordings with Gillespie and Parker include "Lover Man" and "Mean to Me."

Listeners frequently note that she used her voice as an instrument, and Vaughan herself claimed that her style was not modeled after any singer but rather after the "horn-tooters." After about a year with Eckstine, with whom she remained friendly for life, Vaughan embarked on a solo career.

She soon became internationally famous. Early in her career, she signed a contract with Columbia Records, and then with Mercury, where she was able to record pop songs on the parent label and jazz on a subsidiary. Her hits in the 1950s included "Whatever Lola Wants," "Make Yourself Comfortable" and "Broken-Hearted Melody." One of her biggest fans, radio and TV host Dave Garroway nicknamed her "the Divine One," and it caught on. Partly due to her stage manner, she was also called "Sassy" or "Sass."

In 1974, Vaughan was invited to sing for American President Gerald Ford and the president of France, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who were meeting on the West Indian island of Martinique. Her other honors include an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Northwestern University, awarded in 1978; the Grammy award for best jazz vocal performance in 1982 for "Gershwin Live!" with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 1989. She was also the winner of several polls conducted by "DownBeat" and other magazines asking readers to name their favorite performers.

Vaughan frequently toured with a trio — piano, bass, and drums — but was sometimes backed by a symphony orchestra. Later in her career, Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" became one of her signature tunes, in a tour de force performance that blended the pop, jazz and operatic sides of her musical personality. Her range was such that she sometimes sang "Misty" as, in effect, a duet with herself, beginning in her girlish register and then moving into the voice of a suave baritone crooner.

Almost 50 years after making her professional debut, Sarah Vaughan died on April 3, 1990. She is beloved by fans and professional musicians alike, including Dianne Reeves, Anita Baker and Joni Mitchell.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:

Sarah Vaughan Stamp
U.S. Postal Service
2 Federal Reserve
Newark, N.J. 07102

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by May 29, 2016.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Philatelic Products
There are eight philatelic products for this stamp issue:
586406, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $70.56 (print quantity 1,200).
586410, Keepsake, $9.95.
586416, First-Day Cover, $0.93.
586418, First-Day Cover Full Pane, $10.34.
586419, Cancelled Full Pane, $10.34.
586421, Digital Color Postmark, $1.64.
586424, Framed Art, $39.95.
586430, Ceremony Program, $6.95.

Many of this year's other stamps may be viewed on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=39625

CONTACT: Northern N.J.: George B. Flood george.b.flood@usps.gov 732.819.3669 National: Roy Betts roy.a.betts@usps.gov 202.268.3207 usps.com/newsSource:United States Postal Service