Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - Dinah Washington
2 CD(s) - Classic Jazz Vocals - Label: Snapper - Distributor: Snapper Music/Proper - Released: 02/08/1999 - 636551416221
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Review of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - Dinah Washington"
With World War Two in full swing, the shape of Western music was turning a significant corner which laid out the basis of music to come.Over in the States, black orientated music was climbing over the barriers that had held black and white music apart from each other. In the early 1940's, big bands of predominately black musicians devised a beat, which was soon to be titled 'jump blues.' It was a faster paced version of legendary blues, yet, this music was happy, hopeful and above all, it had a magnetic force which drew masses of people to the dance floors. Since it had been tagged to black blues, it wasn't long before it furnished the room of what we still know today as Rhythm and Blues.
The main difference between these two genres was quite simple. Jump music had focused on the delightful and energetic musicians creating, fundamentally non vocal pieces. Musicians literally flew across the stage whilst still playing in tune, they jumped off the tops of piano's and generally fooled around to entertain the audience, whipping them up into a dance frenzy. The genre of Rhythm and Blues was actually, the complete opposite. The basis was put upon the vocal rather than the band. It was all about the singer and the song, and for the first time, songs were to be listened to, enjoyed and understood.Still using the same instrumental basis as Jump, Rhythm and Blues' musicians, sat down like their white swing counterparts whilst a, mostly, solitary singer stood in front on the stage. It was not at all surprising that is was from Rhythm and Blues that we generated some of the twentieth century's greatest, most powerful singers. The basic line up around the forties and fifties was female artists.
It is here, that we pick up with probably the greatest, and most loved of them all, Dinah Washington.This 2 CD album takes us through the very pinnacle of her outstanding career. Dubbed 'The Queen Of The Blues,' she touched on the hearts of many listeners in her day with her sweet, soulful vocals and catchy melodies. Singing for songwriters such as Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, she came from, like most of her contemporaries, from Gospel music inherited from by parents. Starting out as a jazz singer, she left her piano and choir days behind and reached out to 'the devil's' music' at the age of nineteen.
This album takes us through her recording life right up to the year before she died from heart failure, induced by a drugs overdose in 1963 and the tender age of only 39. A singer, who, I believe, still had the best years of her recording career to come.We find the very best range of blues, jazz and rhythm and blues on this album. The haunting 'Smoke Gets In Your Eye's' opens this unique album closely followed by two Cole Porter classic's 'Every time We Say Goodbye' and 'I Get A Kick Out Of You,' which was a bigger hit for Frank Sinatra. We will find just about all the songs on this album recognisable from somewhere, either from other artists or from films, musicals and soundtracks of old and new. The timeless, 'Mad About The Boy,' has become a track that has captured the true spirit of Dinah Washington in many ways. Her ability to create a mood of a song just by tuning her own mood into the lyrics. Her vocal, dropped and the diva becomes translucent as she appears to blend in with the accompaniment. The production of the album as been edited to perfection. The styles of the songs selected glide into each other from quick paced jazz to moody romantic numbers.
In no real categorical order, this album actually works better as it mixes the tracks of different age giving the illusion that the lady is still among us. Allowing her music and her distinctive voice to move around us, she stays, timeless, herself. Each note still very much harmonious with today's music. She adapted each style to fit her extraordinary vocal range. She had great power behind some remarkable high notes yet could whisper something so low and faint in the next bar. She has truly, through this album, become an icon of twentieth century music, and so this album, just proves to us, that she could apply her voice to anything and everything.The sleeve of this wonderfully, romantic album paints a perfect picture of the woman within. A black and white portrait dusted in pink tones shows us this glamorous lady hiding all the trouble so f a tragic life. It says, 'The Best Of,' and that is exactly what is here. An unaccredited piece of information about the singer's life is affectingly written, although brief in the inner sleeve. It notes all the right information about Washington's recording career that is fitting to the music within the album.
For any curious blues/jazz fans, this is a gem to purchase. With the abundance of cool swingers being brought from the fifties and sixties to join us in the record collections of the twenty first century, this surely has a place too. If you enjoyed Nina Simone and delighted over Billie Holiday or even hooked your ears into Ray Charles and wanted to expand your tastes even further, then I recommend this album to add to your precious collection. It will transport you back to the classiest era of strong voices, mood-shifting tunes that music history had ever created.
A Snapper Music label 1999.
Artist; Dinah Washington.
Bought at Virgin Megastores £4.99
Product Information : Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - Dinah Washington
Manufacturer's product description2 CD(s) - Classic Jazz Vocals - Label: Snapper - Distributor: Snapper Music/Proper - Released: 02/08/1999 - 636551416221
Listed on Ciao since: 05/01/2006