Dinah Washington: Music for Lovers (2007)
Like every female blues/jazz vocalist of the past century, Washington operates in a world first illuminated by the legendary Billie Holiday. Holiday's classic composition "Lover Man opens this set in dark shadow; the instrumentation lays out a typical "ballad with strings homogenized session, but Washington's vocal phrasing burns more acidic, almost bitter. Washington also mulls over a "Blue Gardenia (Holiday's trademark flower) accompanied by an ensemble that sounds smaller and bluer.
"Romance in the Dark presents Washington at her wanton best; she writhes under the cover of Billy Butler's legendary soul-jazz guitar, relaxing to bounce with the insouciant lilt of the blues then grinding her hips down to turn out the final verse in a voice that's most authoritatively bad-ass and beautiful, her own flower growing from the root of Bessie Smith. Her interpretation makes it clear: she ain't talking about romanceshe's talking about ballin' in the dark. But for the most of the rest of album, Sings for Lovers presents the Dinah Washington so focused on refinement that she distills the blues completely out of her repertoire.
Track Listing: Lover Man; For All We Know; Romance in the Dark; I Didn't Know About You; You're a Sweetheart; Blue Gardenia; I'm Gonna Laugh You Out of My Life; The Good Life; That Old Feeling; If It's the Last Thing I Do; He's My Guy; I'll Never Stop Loving You.
Personnel: Dinah Washington: vocals; Orchestra arranged and conducted by Don Costa; Orchestra arranged and conducted by Fred Norman; Eddie Chamblee: tenor saxophone; Billy Butler: guitar; Patti Bown: piano; Milt Hinton: bass; Earl Edwards: tenor saxophone; Jack Wilson: piano; Jimmy Sigler: organ; Everett Barksdale: guitar; Jimmy Thomas: drums.
Record Label: Blue Note Records