Dinah Washington - For Those in Love (The Complete Quincy Jones Small Group) Plus 4 bonus tracks
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For Those in Love (Remastered 2015)
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Audio CD, 24 Nov 2014
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All existing music from three brilliant small group sessions showcasing Dinah Washington, which were recorded on consecutive days during March 15-17, 1955. The arrangements were by the great Quincy Jones, who also conducted the band and played a trumpet solo on Ask a Woman Who Knows . Some of the tracks were issued on the LP For Those in Love (Emarcy MG-36011), while six others appeared on different single releases. The backing group includes such stars as Clark Terry, Jimmy Cleveland, Paul Quinichette, Cecil Payne, Wynton Kelly, and Miles Davis drummer Jimmy Cobb. As a bonus, we have added a rare broadcast in its entirety that presents Dinah live at the Basin Street Club shortly after the Jones dates. She is backed here by the same rhythm section of our primary album (minus guitar), and the broadcast includes yet another version of I Diddle . Includes 12-page booklet.
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This is my favorite album by Dinah Washington. Unlike the other great divas of her era –Ella, Sarah, Anita, Carmen-- Dinah worked best not with lush orchestra backing or even a full band behind her but with small combos. The somewhat harsh sound of her voice wasn’t a problem in a sympathetic setting and she responded to her colleagues’ gentle prodding by putting out her best. That’s especially true with this group, all of whom were accomplished pros. Trumpeter Clark Terry had played with Ellington and Basie since the 40s. Jimmy Cleveland was the best mainstream trombonist of his day, possessed of a gorgeous full tone and solid musical imagination, a contributor to countless major small and large group sessions. Saxophonists Quinichette and Payne were veterans, Quinnichete in particular known for his ability to caress a ballad, Payne more overtly boppish. Betts and Cobb were Dinah’s regular rhythm guys. Wynton Kelly, just 24, wasn’t as distinctive a bluesman as he soon became with Miles but he was solid and dependable, and Galbraith was one of the better bop-oriented guitar players around then. The arranger and musical director for the session was Quincy Jones, only 22 but the following year to leave for a tour of Europe with the Dizzy Gillespie band, and on his return, to form his own orchestra (a great one) so he could play his own arrangements –the rest is history.
The arrangements for this session aren’t fancy but the ensemble keeps the tempo moving and never gets in Dinah’s way, and Dinah clearly grooves playing with these men. I’ve written elsewhere that Dinah wasn’t so much a jazz singer as a ballad and R and B singer who fit well with jazz backup, largely because of her bluesy sound, the way she played with the beat, and her ability relax into the beat. Sure, she often bent notes and reshaped individual phrases in a song but she never, as did Ella, Sarah, Anita, or later on, Sheila Jordan, reshape entire melody lines. As an improviser, she was an embellisher rather than a reshaper or de novo creator.
All the ten songs on the album are ballad standards. Nothing sizzles. The tempos are all relaxed, ranging from slow slow to slow up. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite on the album because I like most of the songs, but if I had to pick a few, it’d be “Blue Gardenia,” which Dinah absolutely nails, with nice work by Galbraith and Payne, and “My Old Flame,” basically a duet by Dinah and Galbraith. As to the up tunes, the starter, “I Get a Kick Out of You,” features a fine solo half-chorus by Cleveland, almost everybody solos on “This Can’t Be Love,” and Quinichette, Terry and Cleveland take turns on “This Can’t Be Love.” This may not be an indispensable album but it’s solid, alive and great listening, and Dinah? Well, when she was on, like here, she was really on.