And then her rise ended.

The work, never lucrative to begin with, faded away as tastes in popular music shifted. The two albums she made for Columbia in 1962 were well received but didn’t sell, and she was dropped from the roster; she wouldn’t record again for more than a decade. A new era in pop music began in the mid-1960s, and Ms. Sloane was not to be a part of it.

By then she was barely getting by, playing the odd gig and writing reviews for DownBeat. Then, in 1968, a nightclub called the Frog and Nightgown opened in Raleigh, N.C. She was invited to perform for a week — and ended up staying in Raleigh for nearly a decade.

For the next seven years, until it closed, she performed regularly at the Frog and Nightgown while working as a secretary in the law offices of Terry Sanford, the former governor. Jazz clubs were closing all over the country in the late 1960s, and opening one in 1968 was perhaps overly optimistic, particularly in a town wrestling with segregation — the Frog and Nightgown was often targeted by the Ku Klux Klan — but it thrived for a time, and so did Ms. Sloane.

Then she was introduced to Jimmy Rowles, a gifted jazz pianist who had played with the greats but who had a drinking problem. They fell in love, and she followed him back to New York. Before long, she found herself starting the morning with a drink. She attempted suicide and finally left him, moving in with friends.

There were more setbacks in store: An old friend lured Ms. Sloane back to North Carolina when he opened a club in Chapel Hill, but it quickly failed. By the mid-1980s, she was broke again. She lost her car, and her apartment.

In a last-ditch effort to find work, she called a few club managers, including Buck Spurr, a kindhearted man who was running a jazz room in a Howard Johnson’s in Boston called the Starlight Roof. They married in 1986 and settled in Stoneham.

Penelope Green

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