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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


The Definitive


Verve/Blue Note 589 839-2


  1. Evil Gal Blues
  2. Embraceable You
  3. New Blowtop Blues
  4. Our Love is Here to Stay
  5. Big Slidiní Thing
  6. A Foggy Day
  7. I Donít Hurt Any More
  8. Teach me Tonight
  9. Blue Gardenia
  10. My Ideal
  11. Iíll Close My Eyes
  12. All of Me
  13. What a Difference a Day Makes
  14. Baby, Youíve Got What it Takes
  15. Unforgettable
  16. This Better Earth
  17. Invitation
  18. Drinking Again
  19. Me and My Gin
  20. For All We Know


Dinah Washington had several careers all at once, an outstanding blues singer at the start, the 1943, Evil Gal Blues (she Was 19 at the time), at the start of the album demonstrates this aspect of her work. She also enjoyed some success as a ballad singer and the second track Embraceable You, shows her work in this style, with a large Orchestra led by Gus Chappell. These were not the only styles she could work in however, she had several R&B hits but it was finally as a top jazz singer that her place in posterity was reserved.

New Blowtop Blues has some fine tenor sax playing a la Lester Young from Paul Quinichette. Our Love is Here to Stay shows off Dinahís fine diction and good intonation. Big Long Slidiní Thing is back to the blues again with a song about a trombone player with a risqué sort of lyric. Foggy Day is a classic version of this Gershwin song, with an excellent small group backing, that included Clark Terry, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davies and Junior Mance, she could hardly go wrong in such company!

The next two tracks Donít Hurt Any More and Teach Me Tonight were recorded in 1954 and were aimed at the top 20, even these tracks however have enough jazz content to make them interesting. Blue Gardenia is back to the small group setting with Quincy Jones as MD/Arranger, this is a very good track indeed and shows Dinah at her best with a good arrangement and fine solos from Paul Quinichette on tenor, d Barry Galbraith on guitar and Cecil Payne on baritone.

My Ideal is not often heard these days, but it was a very popular song, which many jazz singers included in their repertoire. The backing has a big string section and the sleeve note claims that Cannonball Adderley was on this track. I couldnít hear him however, unless he played fiddle! All of Me is taken at a nice middle tempo and shows Dinah off at her best as a jazz singer, working with Urbie Green on trombone, Don Elliot on mellophone and Terry Gibbs on vibes and a rhythm section that included Max Roach on drums. What a Difference a Day Made is usually the one Dinah Washington record that most people have heard, it is often played today in quality music record shows.

In 1959 Dinah was joined in the studio by the then unknown Brook Benton and together they had a hit with Baby You Got What it Takes. Unforgettable is Dinah Washingtonís version of the Nat Cole hit, it is very well done but of course everyone doing this song is always compared to Natís definitive version. This Bitter Earth is a Clyde Otis song, which I had not heard before, but I am glad to be aquainted with.

Invitation is one of the better jazz ballads, that has stood the test of time well.

The last three tracks all come from the 1962 album The Best of the Roulette Years and are some of the best on the album. Don Costa was the Arranger/MD and he really understood the backings that Dinah Washington needed, unfortunately just over a year later she died aged 40 and the jazz world had lost on e of itís great singers. For All We Know was the poignant title of the last track.

Donít forget to listen on at the end for the joke about the talking dog!


Don Mather



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