Dinah Washington & Quincy Jones: The Complete Sessions

Nearly four hours across three CDs of the singer of whom Quincy Jones said: 'Every single melody she sang she made hers'

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This attractively packaged compilation features all the sessions made between 1955 and 1961 by Dinah Washington with orchestras conducted by Quincy Jones. It includes the complete albums For Those In Love, I Wanna Be Loved and the superlative The Swingin’ Miss D, together with some lesser-known singles. From their first meeting, Dinah and a much younger Quincy formed a close professional and personal relationship – recounted with some relish by Jones in his autobiography, Q.

On the March 1955 sessions, an exciting This Can’t Be Love has an opening vocal by Dinah followed by cogent solos from Terry, Payne, Cleveland and Quinichette. Other highlights include I Could Write A Book, Blue Gardenia and Easy Living.

The Swingin’ Miss D (1955) is arguably her best jazz album after Dinah Jams (1954). With a stellar trumpet section comprising Wilder, Royal, Shavers and Terry, trombonists Cleveland, Green and Jackson (with Tommy Mitchell on bass trombone), a reed section including Thompson, Richardson and Bank, and a rhythm section of Galbraith, Hinton and Crawford, things were bound to ignite. My favourite is Jerome Kern’s They Didn’t Believe Me which has Dinah competing with (and topping) an alternately restrained and blistering brass section.

If the remaining tracks don’t quite equal Believe, Dinah’s perfect diction is heard to advantage on But Not For Me, Makin’ Whoopee and Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye – which bears favourable comparison with Ella’s justly celebrated version. Tizol’s Caravan has a full-throated Dinah, with appropriate plunger trombone from Jackson and fine drumming by Crawford; another Tizol composition, Perdido, is garnished with a laidback Washington vocal and Terry’s bubbling flugelhorn.

I Wanna Be Loved (1962) features Dinah singing 12 torch songs, including Don’t Explain and You’re Crying, accompanied by Newman, Terry, Kai Winding and Al Cohn “plus” [better “minus”] some syrupy strings. Unfortunately, the arrangements (by Ernie Wilkins and Quincy) gave the jazz players little opportunity to stretch out, although Dinah managed to raise the temperature with uptempo versions of Sometimes I’m Happy and Let’s Fall In Love. The bonus tracks – Invitation and another version of Mad About The Boy – are welcome, if slight, additions to Dinah’s “pop” oeuvre. Not all the 73 titles in this anthology belong in the Great American Songbook, but as Quincy reflected after her death: “Every single melody she sang she made hers.”

Discography
CD1: I Could Write A Book; Make The Man Love Me; Blue Gardenia; You Don’t Know What Love Is; My Old Flame; Easy Living; I Get A Kick Out Of You; This Can’t Be Love; If I Had You; I Diddle (version 1); I Diddle (version 2); Wasn’t It; No! (You Can’t Have Him); Ask A Woman Who Knows; Relax, Max; Tears To Burn; The Kissing Way Home; I Know; I’ll Drown In My Tears; You Let My Love Grow Cold (78.05)
CD2: Somebody Loves Me; Perdido; Caravan; Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?; They Didn’t Believe Me; But Not For Me; You’re Crying; Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye; I’ll Close My Eyes; Makin’ Whoopee; Never Let Me Go; Bargain Day; Blues In The Night; Don’t Explain; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning; Blue Gardenia; Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered; Am I Blue?; Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool; If I Should Lose You; Wake The Town And Tell The People; You Do Something To Me; So In Love; Secret Love; Mood Indigo; God Bless The Child (77.39)
CD3: I’m A Fool To Want You; A Stranger In Town; Sometime’s I’m Happy; Let’s Fall In Love; I Just Found Out About Love; When Your Lover Has Gone; Tears And Laughter; I Can’t Face The Music (Without Singing The Blues); Since I Fell For You; Dream; Such A Night; Salty Papa Blues; It Don’t Hurt Anymore; Trust In Me; Tell Me Why; It Isn’t Fair; Time Out For Tears; Mad About The Boy [1961 version]; Mixed Emotions; I Wanna Be Loved; Make Believe Dreams; If I Loved You; Stormy Weather; You’re Crying; Teach Me Tonight; *Invitation; *Mad About The Boy [1952 version] (78.00)
Washington (v) and Quincy Jones (cond) on all tracks wity, collectively: Clark Terry, Joe Newman, Charlie Shavers (t); Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green, Quentin Jackson, Billy Byers (tb); Lucky Thompson, Paul Quinichette, Budd Johnson, Jerome Richardson (ts); Wynton Kelly (p); Barry Galbraith (g); Milt Hinton (b); Osie Johnson and Jimmy Cobb (d) among others. New York, 1955-61. *Bonus tracks.
Essential Jazz Classics EJC55728