Dinah Washington, born Ruth Lee Jones (Aug. 29, 1924 – Dec. 14, 1963), was a pianist and a singer that was a master of different styles: Gospel, R&B, Blues, Jazz and Pop.
Her career started at age 15. After winning an amateur contest at Regal Theatre in Chicago, she began performing in nightclubs as a pianist and singer.
Joe Glaser, a talent manger, heard her at the Garrick Bar in 1942 and recommended her to Lionel Hampton, who asked her to join his band. It was around this time, when she changed her name to Dinah Washington, although it doesn’t seem to be clear, who finally gave her that name.
From 1943 to 1946, Washington stayed with Hampton and made her recording debut for Keynote at the end of 1943, before she left to go solo. In 1948, she signed with the Mercury label and produced one Top Ten hit after another on the R&B charts from 1948 to 1955.
Washington also recorded many jazz sessions with big bands and small combos, most memorably with Clifford Brown, Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Ben Webster, Wynton Kelly, and the young Joe Zawinul (who was her regular accompanist for a couple of years).
A Slick Chick (On The Mellow Side)
This is a nice, lightly swinging, early R&B tune, recorded after leaving Lionel Hampton. Beside Washington’s voice, the saxophone solo is remarkably beautiful.
Personnel: Frank Galbraith, Russell Royster (tp), Tab Smith (as), Johnny Hicks (ts), Larry Belton (bars), Red Richards (p), Johnny Williams (b), Walter Johnson (d) and Dinah Washington (vo).
Title: A Slick Chick (On The Mellow Side)
Artist: Dinah Washington
Recorded: October 3, 1946
Album: The Complete Dinah Washington On Mercury Vol.1 (1946 – 1949)
Tempo: 160 bpm
Dance: Lindy Hop
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