Dakota Staton

Influential critic Leonard Feather described Dakota Staton as “a dynamic song stylist recalling sometimes elements of Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan,” but she remains one of the most powerful and commanding jazz singers in the postwar era. Staton was born outside of Pittsburgh, June 3, 1930. She began dancing and singing as a child. Later, she attended the Filion School of Music. At 16 she was a star in Fantastic Rhythm, and then joined Joe Wespray two years later. Staton was the star of the Detroit Flame Show Bar’s long-running show. She then spent many years touring the Midwest clubs circuit. She eventually settled in New York City and was discovered by Capitol Records producer Dave Cavanaugh while performing at Harlem’s Baby Grand. He offered her a contract. Staton’s debut single, “What Do You Know About Love?” was released in 1954. A year later, she won jazz magazine Down Beat’s Most Promising Youngcomer award. Although she wasn’t strictly a jazz artist, she was a bold and brassy R.

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