Taken from five separate 1951-1952 radio broadcasts from New York's Birdland club on WJZ, this 70-minute disc is a good document of Dinah Washington in her early years of solo stardom. Backing her are different lineups of small jazz combos including several notable players, among them drummer Art Blakey, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. It's probably more for committed fans than general ones, as the sound, though good, is a slight notch below the standard for studio sessions of the era. For specialists, however, it's a chance to hear her do an extremely wide assortment of material. The tracks include not just the jazz ballads for which she was most known, but also covers of hits from the country & western (Hank Williams' "Cold Cold Heart"), mainstream pop (Kay Starr's "Wheel of Fortune" and Guy Mitchell's "My Heart Cries for You"), doo wop (the Orioles' "It's Too Soon to Know"), and R&B (Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love") fields. Also on hand are versions of big hits primarily identified with Washington's interpretations, "I Wanna Be Loved" and "Baby Get Lost," as well as some brief interview segments that give a sense of her lively personality.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger