Dinah Washington: Queen of the Juke Box "Live", 1948-1955
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Ted Ono's Baldwin Street Music has rescued Dinah Washington's live performances from New York's Birdland, Royal Roost and Basin Street. There are also a couple of cuts from the soundtrack of Harlem Variety Review. It was during this period that many of her recordings consistently appeared at the top of the R & B charts. But it wasn't until her classic "What a Difference a Day Made" that she broke through to the pop charts. The first performance on the CD is from 1948 with the Dizzy Gillespie Orch. and the last from 1955 with Wynton Kelly. These cuts reveal how much Washington matured in terms of confidence and technique. The comparison is made easier since some of the tunes show up at both early and later sessions.
Whatever she's singing on this disc, Washington is accompanied by some of New York's top jazz people of the period. Wynton Kelly, Percy Heath, Dizzy Gillespie. Keter Betts and others were on the stand with Washington during her performances. In addition to her R & B tunes like "Time out for Tears" and "I Won't Cry Anymore", Washington was doing many of the top tunes of the period in her shows. Among those on this disc are "Harbor Lights", "Wheel of Fortune" and" Cold Cold Heart". But whatever the source of the material, Washington sang it with her unmatched penetrating, clear diction, right from the heart and soul vocal style. Although this material has been released before, it was scattered over a number of labels and some still had not been transferred to CD. Kudos to Ted Ono for bringing it all together in one place. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: I Want to Cry@; It's Too Soon to Know@; I'll Never Be Free%*; I Cross My Fingers%*; Harbor Lights%*; Only a Moment Ago%*; I Wanna Be Loved%*; My Heart Cries for You%*; Time out for Tears%*; It's Too Soon to Know%**; N Y, Chicago & LA%**; Baby Get Lost%**; Dinah Talks; I Wanna Be Loved%**; I Won't Cry Anymore%**; Please Send Someone to Love%**; Tell Me Why%$#; Cold Cold Heart%$#; Wheel of Fortune%$#; Mixed Emotions%$#; Blow Top Blues%$#; Such a Night^$&; My Lean Baby^$&; NY, Chicago & LA%$>; Mixed Emotions%$>; Come Rain or Come Shine%$&>; Dinah Talks%$&>; I Diddie%$&>
Personnel: Dinah Washington - Vocal; Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet@; Wynton Kelly%, Junior Mance^ - Piano; Percy Heath%, Keter Betts$ - Bass; Art Blakey*, Al Jones**, Ed Shaughnessy#, Jimmy Cobb& - Drums; Paul Williams and the Hucklebuckers> - Vocals; Unidentified Sax**
Record Label: Baldwin Street Music