b. Ruth Lee Jones, 29th August 1924, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S.A. d. 14th December 1963, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)
Dinah Washington was a jazz vocalist and pianist.
Born in Alabama, Dinah relocated to Chicago as a child.
She attended church, contributing her piano playing in the local St. Luke's Baptist Church.
Dinah also sang in the choir, and began musically directing the ensemble, and became a member of the Sallie Martin Gospel Singers.
After winning an amateur contest at Chicago's Regal Theater, Dinah sang lead with the first female gospel singers, working for Ms. Martin, who was the co-founder of the Gospel Singers Convention.
Dinah began singing in local clubs, following another talent contest success, and by 1941 she was several Chicago Clubs.
The gigs included performances at Dave's Rhumboogie and the Downbeat Room of the Sherman Hotel.
Whilst performing at the Three Deuces Club, she was taken along to see Billie Holiday at the Garrick Stage Bar.
The owner of the club, Joe Sherman, heard Dinah’s rendition of ‘I Understand’ and hired her for a year long contract.
Dinah sang upstairs whilst Billie sang in the downstairs room.
It was the club owner who suggested Dinah change her name from Ruth Jones.
At this time, Lionel Hampton came to hear Dinah sing at the Garrick.
Lionel offered Dinah a part in his band, after which she sang with the group whilst at the Chicago Regal Theatre.
That year Dinah landed a recording deal with the Keynote records imprint.
evil gal blues b/w homeward bound - 1944 / baby get lost b/w long john blues -1949
Her first recording resulted in ‘Evil Gal Blues’, backed by Lionel Hampton and musicians from his band.
The line-up included Joe Morris (on trumpet) and Milt Buckner (on piano).
A second recording, ‘Salty Papa Blues’, reached Billboard's "Harlem Hit Parade" in 1944.
Dinah sang with Lionel Hampton's band up until 1946.
When Keynote folded, Dinah signed to the Mercury Records imprint as a solo performer.
dinah jams - 1954 / for those in love - 1955 / in the land of hi-fi - 1956 / dinah washington sings fats waller - 1957
Her first recording for Mercury was a version of Fats Waller's ‘Ain't Misbehavin’.
The song fared well, and between 1948 and 1955, she achieved 27 R&B top ten hits.
Some “of these songs included ‘Am I Asking Too Much’ (in 1948), ‘Baby Get Lost’ (in 1949) and ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ (in 1950)
Dinah’s repertoire was hugely diverse, with her stylings covering blues, standards, novelties, pop songs, and a remake of Hank Williams' ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ (a hit in 1951).
the best in blues - 1958 / what a diffrence a day makes - 1959 / dinah washington - 1960 / dinah '62 - 1962
She was not ignoring her Jazz roots, collaborating with the likes of Clifford Brown, Clark Terry, Cannonball Adderley and Ben Webster.
In 1959, Dinah achieved a hit on the national pop charts (reaching Number 4 on the U.S. pop chart), with her version of ‘What a Diff'rence a Day Made’.
at this time her group comprised of Belford Hendricks (arranger), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Joe Zawinul (piano), and Panama Francis (drums).
‘What a Diff'rence a Day Made’ was followed up with Dinah’s take on Irving Gordon's song ‘Unforgettable’.
In 1960 she bagn collaborating with male singers including Brook Benton on ‘Baby (You've Got What It Takes)’ (number 1 R&B) and ‘A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love)’ (number 1 R&B).
Dinah’s last major release was ‘September in the Rain’ in 1961 (number 5 R&B).
In 1962, Dinah hired a male backing group called the Allegros.
The Allegros comprised of Jimmy Thomas (on drums), Earl Edwards (on sax, later replaced on sax by John Payne), and Jimmy Sigler (on organ).
Dinah appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival (between 1955–59), and at Birdland (in 1958 and between 1961–62).
Many years later, Dinah's 1952 song 'Mad About The Boy' went through a renaissance, thanks to a television commerical, bringing a new audience to her back catalogue.
On the 14th of December 1963, Dinah died in her sleep at home in Chicago.
An autopsy was later to show a lethal combination of secobarbital and amobarbital, which contributed to her death at the age of 39.
Dinah is laid to rest in the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.
Dinah was married seven times in her life. she was married to John Young (between 1942–43), George Jenkins (in 1946), Robert Grayson (in 1947), Walter Buchanan (in 1950), Eddie Chamblee (in 1957), Rafael Campos (in 1961), and the football player Dick "Night Train" Lane (in 1963).
Dinah Washington is a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Dinah Washington Songs 10 inch album (Mercury Records 1950)
Dynamic Dinah 10 inch album (Mercury Records 1951)
Blazing Ballads 10-inch album (Mercury Records 1952)
10 inch album After Hours With Miss D (EmArcy Records 1954)
Dinah Jams (EmArcy Records 1954)
For Those In Love (EmArcy Records 1955)
Dinah (EmArcy Records 1956)
In The Land Of Hi M (EmArcy Records 1956)
The Swingin' Miss D (EmArcy Records 1956)
Dinah Washington Sings Fats Waller (EmArcy Records 1957)
Music For A First Love (Mercury Records 1957)
Music For Late Hours (Mercury Records 1957)
The Best In Blues (Mercury Records 1958)
Dinah Washington Sings Bessie Smith (EmArcy Records 1958)
Newport '58 (EmArcy Records 1958)
The Queen (Mercury Records 1959)
What A Difference A Day Makes! (Mercury Records 1959)
Unforgettable (Mercury Records 1960)
I Concentrate On You (Mercury Records 1961)
For Lonely Lovers (Mercury Records 1961)
September In The Rain (Mercury Records 1961)
Stars And Laughter (Mercury Records 1962)
Dinah '62 (Roulette Records 1962)
In Love (Roulette Records 1962)
Drinking Again (Roulette Records 1962)
I Wanna Be Loved (Mercury Records 1962)
Back To The Blues (Roulette Records 1963)
Dinah' 63 (Roulette Records 1963)