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Dinah Washington

The versatile vocalist Dinah Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa Alabama on August 29th 1924. She grew up in Chicago where her family moved in 1928.

Her mother was heavily involved in church community centered around St Luke’s Baptist and Dinah was surrounded by gospel and church music since her early childhood. She exhibited musical talents at an early age and was part of the church choir playing the piano and singing gospel in her early teens. At age 15, enamored by Billie Holiday, she started playing and singing the blues in local clubs and made quite a name for herself. In 1942 Lionel Hampton heard her and hired her for to front his band. Hampton claims that it was he who gave her the name Dinah Washington but other sources disagree.

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