DINAH WASHINGTON Biography - Musicians


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Name: Ruth Lee Jones                                                                 
Born: August 29, 1924 Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S.                                       
Died: December 14, 1963 (aged 39)                                                     
Dinah Washington (August 29, 1924 - December 14, 1963) was a blues, R&B and jazz     
singer. Because of her strong voice and emotional singing, she is known as the       
Queen of the Blues.Despite dying at the early age of 39, Washington became           
one of the most influential vocalists of the twentieth century,credited               
among others as a major influence on Aretha Franklin.                                 
Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her family moved to       
Chicago while she was still a child. As a child in Chicago she played piano and       
directed her church choir. She later studied in Walter Dyett's renowned music         
program at DuSable High School. There was a period when she both performed in         
clubs as Dinah Washington while singing and playing piano in Sallie Martin's         
gospel choir as Ruth Jones.                                                           
Her penetrating voice, excellent timing, and crystal-clear enunciation added her     
own distinctive style to every piece she undertook. While making extraordinary       
recordings in jazz, blues, R&B and light pop contexts, Washington refused to         
record gospel music despite her obvious talent in singing it. She believed it         
wrong to mix the secular and spiritual, and after she had entered the non-religious   
professional music world she refused to include gospel in her repertoire.             
Washington began performing as a teenager in 1942 and soon joined Lionel Hampton's   
band. There is some dispute about the origin of her name. Some sources say the       
manager of the Garrick Stage Bar gave her the name Dinah Washington, while           
others say Hampton selected it.