Sarah Vaughan had simply one of the best jazz voices of all time, so much so that all female vocalists of her ilk will, and should be, judged by the bar that she set. Here, at the 1974 Jazz from Newport Festival held in Brussels, Belgium, she is accompanied by a trio that wrap sensuous soundscapes around her tone. In this format she offers a delirious vocal range, molding harmonics to her will like no one else.
She addresses the audience in between each song, and the contrast is notable: when she spoke she had a self-deprecating humor that could even be considered shyness – a far cry from the sincere, forthright and boundary-smashing singing voice. After making standard after standard her own (“Over the Ranbow,” “A Foggy Day in London Town,” “Round Midnight”), she finishes part one with “Sassy’s Blues,” a track she created alongside producer and close friend Quincy Jones, who remarked how she sang with all the versatility and tonal depth of a trumpet.