Washington’s voice is extremely powerful, blending blues, pop and jazz instincts into a singular expression of mass appeal. The music that backs her often matches that intensity, most notably on the extended version of “Blue Skies.” But I think it’s the organ performance on “Am I Blue” that really steals the show. Wish it was given more prominence in the final mixdown.
After the intense hard bop of her Clifford Brown & Max Roach collaborations, Dinah! returns Washington to a more traditional vocal jazz setting. Likewise, her singing is slightly more subdued, though she can still erupt into fiery passion at any second. The best parts of the album are when she does just that.
In the Land of Hi-Fi (1956) B+
A minor work from a major artist. Dinah is always Dinah, and even if the music doesn’t hold up, her voice is more than enough to carry the record through.
The Swingin’ Miss “D” (1957) B+
Standard Dinah Washington — the greatest singer of her generation flexing her golden pipes over schmaltzy arrangements unbefitting of her fiery passion. As an admitted fan, I can’t resist. For an outsider looking for a place to start, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Dinah Washington Sings Fats Waller (1957) B+
Returning to her bluesy roots, the indelible Miss D breathes new life into these Fats Waller classics.