Born: 1926  Birmingham, AL

Died: Aug. 30, 1990

Jazz Vocals Erskine Hawkins

Inducted into Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame 1979

Sources: Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

Laura Washington, 64

Jazz Singer of 1940s

September 05, 1990 | The Morning Call

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Laura Washington, a smoky-voiced jazz vocalist who sang with Erskine Hawkins' orchestra on Broadway in the 1940s and made the hit record "I've Got A Right To Cry," died Thursday of cancer. She was 64.

Washington made her debut at the Strand Theater on Broadway in 1946, the same year she made "I've Got A Right To Cry." She was the only woman member of Hawkins' 18-piece band.

In New York, Washington met her idol, Ella Fitzgerald, and became friends with another Alabama native, blues singer Dinah Washington.

"Her whole style was similar to Ella's," said Birmingham jazz musician J.L. Lowe.

Washington left her career in the 1950s to return to Birmingham and raise a family. She did not sing professionally again for more than 25 years, until her children were grown and her husband, Julian Dash, had died. She returned in the 1980s to perform weekends at a downtown club, Grundy's.

"Musicians who remembered her from the old days were astounded to find out she still had that voice, even in her 60s," said Lowe. "Her voice was like an instrument. It was a gift."


Credits at Artist Direct


iTunes: Tuxedo Junction - The Very Best Of - Erskine Hawkins and Tuxedo Junction (Remastered) - Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra

Amazon: Tuxedo Junction and Erskine Hawkins 1946-1947 and Erskine Hawkins 1947-1949

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