Smithsonian Collections

Dinah Washington

Image for Dinah Washington
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
Dinah Washington was just nineteen when she joined Lionel Hampton’s big band as a vocalist in 1943. After hearing her perform at New York City’s Apollo Theater, jazz critic Leonard Feather arranged a recording session that yielded Washington’s first rhythm and blues hits, “Salty Papa Blues” and “Evil Gal Blues.” Leaving Hampton’s band in 1946 to pursue a solo career, Washington quickly emerged as one of R&B’s most popular artists. She also retained a loyal following among jazz enthusiasts, who cheered her appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival and welcomed albums such as Dinah Jams (1954), on which she was backed by an ensemble featuring jazz greats Clifford Brown and Max Roach. Long a fixture on the R&B charts, Washington scored a crossover pop hit in 1959 with her Grammy-winning single, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Tragically, an accidental prescription drug overdose claimed her life four years later.
Dinah Washington tenía solo diecinueve años cuando se unió a la orquesta de Lionel Hampton como vocalista en 1943. Al escucharla en el Teatro Apollo de New York, el crítico Leonard Feather le coordinó una sesión de grabación que produjo sus primeros éxitos de rhythm and blues: “Salty Papa Blues” y “Evil Gal Blues”. En 1946 se separó de la orquesta de Hampton para proseguir como solista, destacándose pronto como una de las intérpretes más populares de R&B. También conservó fieles admiradores entre los entusiastas del jazz, quienes aplaudían sus presentaciones en el Newport Jazz Festival y sus discos como Dinah Jams (1954), donde la acompañaron músicos estrellas como Clifford Brown y Max Roach. Después de mucho tiempo en las listas de éxitos de rhythm and blues, Washington hizo un triunfal crossover en 1959 con el sencillo pop “What a Difference a Day Makes”, que le valió un Grammy. Trágicamente, una sobredosis accidental de un medicamento recetado le costó la vida cuatro años después.
Artist
Herman Leonard, 1923 - 2010
Sitter
Dinah Washington, 8 August 1924 - 14 December 1963
Date
1955 (printed 1998)
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Medium
Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 39.8 × 30cm (15 11/16 × 11 13/16")
Sheet: 50.4 × 40.6cm (19 13/16 × 16")
Frame: 71.8 × 56.5 × 3.8 cm (28 1/4 × 22 1/4 × 1 1/2")
Type
Photograph
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
NPG.2014.111.29
Culture
Dinah Washington: American\African American
Topic
Costume\Jewelry\Earring
Equipment\Sound Devices\Microphone
Interior\Performing Arts\Theatrical\Stage
Music\Musical instrument\Drum
Dinah Washington: Female
Dinah Washington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer
Dinah Washington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Popular
Dinah Washington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Jazz
Dinah Washington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Rhythm and Blues
Portrait
Place
United States\Rhode Island\Newport\Rhode Island\Newport
Restrictions & Rights
© Herman Leonard Photography LLC