Dinah Washington

Compact Jazz

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Not quite as fine as Sarah Vaughan's Compact Jazz disc, this Verve roundup still nicely frames Dinah Washington's stay at the label with a fetching array of her best cuts from the '50s and early '60s. Taking in some of Washington's best-known pop songs ("What a Difference a Day Makes"), the disc touches on her excellent Fats Waller ("Keepin' out of Mischief Now") and Bessie Smith ("Backwater Blues") songbooks, while also including something from a fiery live date with Clifford Brown ("I've Got You Under My Skin"). And this is not to forget a handful of finely gauged readings of such perennials as "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Easy Living," and "I Could Write a Book." Topped off with fine support by a bevy of top players, Compact Jazz: Dinah Washington makes for the ideal introductory disc.

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