Archive for Dinah Washington

Happy Birthday – Bird, Dinah and Michael

Posted in In Memoriam, Video Vault with tags , , , on August 29, 2013 by curtjazz

Charlie “Bird” Parker, Dinah Washington and Michael Jackson were all born on August 29th. That they were all extremely influential musical talents who died way too young, is obvious. All I want to do today is post a clip from each of them in performance which will attest to their greatness.

Charlie Parker (1920 – 1955) / With Coleman Hawkins “Improvisation”

There aren’t too many film clips of Bird playing live. This one with Coleman Hawkins is pretty good. Even on an off day, Charlie Parker was better than most cats on their best day.

Dinah Washington (1924 – 1963) –  “Send Me to the Electric Chair”

Like Bird, there aren’t a lot of Dinah Washington clips out there. Also like Bird, she never made it to 40. She should have been a bigger star. Born Ruth Jones, she has always held a special place in my heart because my mom was one of her biggest fans.

Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) – “Who’s Loving You” / “Remember The Time”

And of course, there’s Michael Joseph Jackson.  He called himself “The King of Pop”. I was never fond of that moniker but I always admired his brilliance. He gets two clips; one from the beginning and the other from later in his career, of a song (and video) that I always liked.

I mean how can you not love Eddie , Iman, Magic and Michael in the same video!

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Mother’s Day…Dinah’s Biggest Fan

Posted in In Memoriam, The Jazz Continues..., Video Vault with tags , , on May 7, 2011 by curtjazz

My mother loved life and lived it joyously.  She loved to be around people, she loved to laugh and though she didn’t do it very well, she loved to sing. I still remember the sound of Mom’s singing voice as she was in the kitchen or at her sewing machine.  However, even when I was a child, her singing sounded unusual to me. It was a bit affected and nasal.  It sounded nothing like her speaking voice.  I often wondered, but never asked, where in the world did it come from?

I also knew from an early age that my mom was a fan of Dinah Washington. Though Mom was not a big LP buyer, I noticed that there were three Dinah Washington albums in the storage side of the stereo console; more than any other artist.  Mom also spoke often of hearing Dinah live back when she lived in Chicago.  I never bothered to listen to those records – they belonged to my parents, so they had to be corny.  Besides, one of them was a “Memorial Album”, so this Dinah lady was dead. Why should I listen?

Mom died of breast cancer when I was 28.  I was a nascent jazz fan by then, but I was yet to develop the love for the classic female vocalists (Sarah, Ella, Billie, Anita, etc.), that I now possess.  Not too long after Mom’s death, I was on a therapeutic Tower Records run, with a good friend, Mike, who was/is a big fan of vocalists. One of the things he picked up was a 2-LP Dinah Verve Collection.

We got back to his place to have a few beers and listen to our spoils. The first thing he dropped on the turntable was the Dinah album. After the brief swinging horn line she began to sing:

If they asked me; I could write a book…”

I stopped talking and I listened intently. All at once it hit me.  That was the sound that Mom was looking for, but never quite achieved.  Consciously, or not, each time my mother sang, she was paying tribute to her favorite vocalist: “Miss D”.

From that night on, Dinah Washington became  my favorite jazz vocalist.  The others are all great in their own way, but Dinah – well, she’s special…

Happy Mother’s Day y’all.