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Dinah Jams

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Album Review

Recorded at the start of Dinah Washington's climb to fame, 1954's Dinah Jams was taped live in front of a studio audience in Los Angeles. While Washington is in top form throughout, effortlessly working her powerful, blues-based voice on both ballads and swingers, the cast of star soloists almost steals the show. In addition to drummer Max Roach, trumpeter Clifford Brown, and other members of Brown and Roach's band at the time — tenor saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Richie Powell, and bassist George Morrow — trumpeters Maynard Ferguson and Clark Terry, alto saxophonist Herb Geller, and pianist Junior Mance also contribute to the session. Along with extended jams like "Lover Come Back to Me," "You Go to My Head," and "I'll Remember April" — all including a round of solos — there are shorter ballad numbers such as "There Is No Greater Love" and "No More," the last of which features excellent muted, obbligato work by Brown. Other solo highlights include Land's fine tenor solo on "Darn That Dream" and Geller's alto statement on the disc's standout Washington vocal, "Crazy." And even though she's in the midst of these stellar soloists, Washington expertly works her supple voice throughout to remain the star attraction, even matching the insane, high-note solo blasts trumpeter Ferguson expectedly delivers. A fine disc. Newcomers, though, should start with more accessible and more vocal-centered Washington titles like The Swingin' Miss D or The Fats Waller Songbook, both of which feature top arrangements by Quincy Jones.

Customer Reviews

Dinah Jams

What a band! Three great trumpet players. Maynard Ferguson manages to play in tune at the very stratospheric top of the trumpet's range in 'Summertime'. The trio play brilliantly together on 'I've Got You Under My Skin'. Dinah really swings, driven rhythmically by the amazing Max Roach on drums. This is a great album!


Born: 29 August 1924 in Tuscaloosa, AL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Dinah Washington was at once one of the most beloved and controversial singers of the mid-20th century -- beloved to her fans, devotees, and fellow singers; controversial to critics who still accuse her of selling out her art to commerce and bad taste. Her principal sin, apparently, was to cultivate a distinctive vocal style that was at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, blues, jazz, middle of the road pop -- and she probably would have made a fine gospel or country singer had she the time. Hers...
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