Remastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London
Although she was one of the most powerful and moving of the jazz singers, Dinah Washington suffered more than most from unimaginative and erratic backings. Many of her EmArcy recordings, notably those with Clifford Brown or Clark Terry on trumpet, had outstanding performances, but her collections were compromised by unsuitable accompaniment. This set of 12 blues gives a lop-sided picture in that it doesn’t include any of her ballad performances. However, the basic big band settings allow the power and verve of her singing to come through, and confirm her as the best of the women singers with blues material.
During the 1950s she had been regarded as an R&B performer but arranger and band-leader Fred Norman wrote these fine 1962 jazz settings for her shortly before her death. The material is strong and Washington soars and swings, her voice reaching many of the potent climaxes for which she was so highly regarded. The material runs through much of the traditional repertoire — Big Bill Broonzy, Leroy Carr and Lil Green being represented — and there is a nine-minute “Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning” that is unique in her discography.