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Dinah Washington

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Dinah Washington (August 29, 1924 - December 14, 1963) an American blues, jazz, and gospel singer.

Washington was born Ruth Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; her family moved to Chicago, Illinois while she was still a child. Washington played piano and directed her church choir growing up in Chicago. She studied in Walter Dyett's renowned music program at DuSable High School. For a while she split her time between clubs and singing and playing piano in Salle Martin 's gospel choir as Ruth Jones. Washington's penetrating voice, incredible timing, and crystal clear enunciation enabled her to sing any and everything with distinction.

Dinah Washington made extraordinary recordings in jazz, blues, R&B and light pop contexts, and could have done the same in gospel had she chosen to record in that mode. But the former Ruth Jones didn't believe in mixing the secular and spiritual, and once she'd entered the non-religious music world professionally, refused to include gospel in her repertorie.

Washington began performing in 1942 and soon joined Lionel Hampton's band. There's some dispute about the origin of her name. Some sources say the manager of the Garrick Stage Bar gave her the name Dinah Washington; others say it was Hampton who selected it.

In 1943, she began recording for Keynote Records and released "Evil Gal Blues" her first hit. By 1955, she had released numerous hit songs on the R&B charts, including "Baby, Get Lost", "Trouble in Mind", "You Don't Know What Love Is" (arranged by Quincy Jones), and a cover of "Cold, Cold Heart" by Hank Williams.

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With "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes" 1959, Washington won a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance. This was followed by "September In The Rain", which made number 35 in the UK in November 1961, and a string of other hits.

She was married seven times, and divorced six times. She was married to football player Dick "Night Train" Lane when her voice was forever silenced by a fatal overdose of diet pills and alcohol. She died at age 39 in 1963. She is interred in the Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.

Samples

Further reading

  • Queen of the Blues: A Biography of Dinah Washington, Jim Haskins, 1987, William Morrow & Co. ASIN 0688048463

External links

sv:Dinah Washington

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