She is jazz’s swinging auntie. Cool beyond the word. She can tease, soothe, grace, and settle. The song in her voice is given a liberty and a frame that is like an embrace.

“Queen of the Blues” was her honourable title, her sound making music regal. With a crystal-clear delivery, she could give even the most suggestive blues a sensitivity that lands directly and playfully on the ears. She was very much in control, arranging many of the songs she sang and the accompaniments as well.

The Great American Songbook has had it good many times over, and Washington made its gold even greater. She spanned genres, even being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. What a difference a voice can make. The music and its culture swells with pride.