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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Gifted with a strong, beautiful voice and very precise phrasing, Dinah Washington translated Bessie Smith's irrepressible spirit and flair even better than Billie Holiday, Smith's most famous devotee. For her tribute album, Washington avoided Smith's best-known songs ("'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Baby Won't You Please Come Home"). Instead, she wisely concentrated on the more defiant standards from "The Empress of the Blues," including "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair," "Jailhouse Blues," and "You've Been a Good Ole Wagon." Washington sounds simply glorious, focused on alternating Smith's phrasing to emphasize her own gospel roots. The accompaniment, by Eddie Chamblee and His Orchestra, emphasizes the vaudeville and Dixieland sound of early-century blues, heavy on the slide trombone, growling trumpet, and skeletal, rickety percussion. Reissued several times (occasionally under the title The Bessie Smith Songbook), Dinah Washington Sings Bessie Smith charts a perfect balance between tribute and genuine artistic statement. A Verve master edition reissue added alternate takes of "Trombone Butter" and "Careless Love," plus three songs taken from a Newport performance later in 1958. ~ John Bush
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released March 31, 1997 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Prior to her 1959 hit "What a Difference a Day Makes," nearly every Dinah Washington recording (no matter what the style) was of interest to jazz listeners. However, after her unexpected success on the pop charts, most of Washington's sessions for Mercury and Roulette during the last four years of her life were quite commercial, with string arrangements better suited to country singers and Washington nearly parodying herself with exaggerated gestures. Fortunately, this 1963 LP is an exception, a blues-oriented collection that features Washington returning to her roots, backed by a jazz-oriented big band (with occasional strings and background voices). Eddie Chamblee and Illinois Jacquet have some tenor solos, guitarist Billy Butler is heard from, and the trumpet soloist is probably Joe Newman. In general, this is a more successful date than Washington's earlier investigation of Bessie Smith material, since the backup band is more sympathetic and the talented singer is heard in prime form. Dinah Washington clearly had a real feeling for this bluesy material. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1962 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
A torch song date recorded between Dinah Washington's commercial breakthrough in 1959 and her death in 1963, I Wanna Be Loved flaunts a large cast of talented collaborators -- plus, to be sure, Washington's regal readings of 12 great songs -- but, unfortunately, the musical side is overwhelmed by the heavy strings in attendance. Working with Quincy Jones, Washington found her studio cast to include Joe Newman and Clark Terry on trumpet, Jimmy Cleveland and Kai Winding on trombone, and Al Cohn on tenor. However, the arrangements (from Ernie Wilkins and Quincy Jones) rarely leave room for the musicians -- and, in fact, rarely feature them at all -- preferring instead to concentrate on strings and the occasional wordless vocal chorus. As usually happened in these circumstances, Washington appears unfazed by the treacle surrounding her; although she doesn't improvise, her performances of "Blue Gardenia," "Don't Explain," and the title track (originally an R&B hit for her 12 years earlier) are elegant and bewitching. The larger big band makes its presence felt on the two side-closers, both of them ("Let's Fall in Love," "Sometimes I'm Happy") more uptempo material. Although Washington's latter-day Mercury material is often derided, she always succeeded despite her surroundings, and this date is no different. ~ John Bush
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Any self-respecting jazz musician would leap at the chance to record an afterhours session with Dinah Washington. One of the finest musician's singers, Washington demanded respect from her band and paid in return by giving her fellow players plenty of room for solos, on record or in concert. Her Dinah Jams LP from 1954 isn't just one of the finest jazz-meets-vocals dates, it's one of the best jam sessions ever released. One year earlier, she began recording the songs heard on After Hours With Miss D, a date sparked (as the original liner notes explained) by her enjoyment of the time after a standard recording date, those late hours when she could sing what she wanted, stretch out and treasure her notes while her musicians relaxed the rhythm. (The record also helped feed the appetite of many record-buyers, who would only after the fact hear tales of unmissable sessions at neglected clubs.) Listeners expecting a record of narcoleptic torch songs, however, may well be shocked by the dynamic range of this date, comprising ebullient stormers as well as slow blues. (Just because the band relaxes the rhythm certainly doesn't mean they have to slow it down.) The results of three sessions recorded one year apart, After Hours With Miss D featured a hand-picked band -- including Clark Terry on trumpet and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis or Paul Quinichette on tenor, plus Washington's rock-solid rhythm section of bassist Keter Betts, drummer Ed Thigpen, and usually pianist Junior Mance (who made his debut with Dinah on the first of these dates). The first two selections are the best, the opener "Blue Skies" a studied introduction for all the principals (each of them heard in extended form on the eight-minute track), and the second a runaway train with Clark Terry's hyper-inflated trumpet as the conductor and the rest of the band carried along for the ride. Organist Jackie Davis leads the group into traditional afterhours territory, setting into a bluesy groove for "Am I Blue?" and "Pennies From Heaven." Washington meanwhile is at her interpretive best, whether tormented ("Love for Sale") or reflective ("A Foggy Day") or tranquil ("Pennies From Heaven"). Everyone gets to solo, as it should be, and the controlled environment makes this session a tighter display of finesse than the live-in-the-studio, completely frenetic Dinah Jams LP. ~ John Bush
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Vocal Jazz - Released August 21, 2006 | Saga

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Lone Hill Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 6, 2008 | Fremeaux Heritage

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 22, 2015 | Vocal Classics

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Pop - Released July 3, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 22, 2014 | BnF Collection

Hi-Res
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Vocal Jazz - Released February 26, 2011 | BDMUSIC

Booklet
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Vocal Jazz - Released March 25, 2016 | Retro Style Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released November 9, 2016 | Rarity Music

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Vocal Jazz - Released March 31, 2008 | Upbeat Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released July 1, 2015 | Crazy Warthog Media

Up until 1959, Dinah Washington was able to excel in every musical setting that she found herself. A strong jazz/blues vocalist who had many R&B hits, Washington always sounded confident and soulful even when backed by studio orchestras. However after her February 19, 1959 recording of "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes" became a major hit and she gained fame, Washington stuck to safely commercial pop music. Even when she was singing superior songs during the 1959-1963 period, she was always backed by large orchestras outfitted with extremely commercial charts better suited to country-pop stars. The sixth in Mercury's series of three-CD sets starts with the February 19 session and covers 21 months in Washington's career. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released May 7, 2018 | Rarity Music