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Dinah Washington at The 1958 Newport Jazz Festival

I didn’t know anything about Dinah Washington — whose real name was Ruth Lee Jones — other that she was a terrific singer. It was sad that this is how her NPR bio begins:

Singer Dinah Washington, the Grammy-winning “Queen of the Jukeboxes,” left her turbulent life behind at the tender age of 39. In that short period, a volatile mix of undeniable talent and deep-rooted insecurity took her to the heights of fame and the depths of self-doubt.  (Continue Reading…)

Thirty-nine.

Here is Washington’s discography. Above is All of Me performed at The Newport Jazz Festival in 1958. It’s great, from the music to the shots of the late 1950s crowd to Washington’s grabbing of the mallets (I’m guessing that is what you call the hammers with which a vibraphone is struck). Through the magic of Google, I found out — in literally five seconds, which actually is a bit frightening — that the good-natured vibraphonist is Terry Gibbs, who led the sextet. Max Roach is the drummer.

The clip’s high quality is due to the fact that it shot for a movie, Jazz on a Summer’s Day, by Bert Stern.

Below is another great clip, this one of Lover Come Back to Me.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.