A third-generation blues singer who matched the interpretive brilliance of Billie Holiday and the vocal sweetness of Ella Fitzgerald very early in her career, Dinah Washington needed precious little time to hone her art. While still a teenager, she recorded her first hit, "Evil Gal Blues," with Lionel Hampton's band, and was recording as a solo act by 1946. During the next five years she steadily broadened her interests past classic female blues to embrace swing, traditional pop, jive -- no jazz-based genre lay beyond her grasp. For vocal fans unwilling to expend the effort or cash required for Mercury's massive series The Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury (over 20 discs of issued sides and alternates), this four-disc set by The Jazz Factory will come as quite a relief. Covering 1946 through 1951, her first five years at Mercury (plus an early Keynote session from 1943 that grabs "Evil Gal Blues"), Complete 1943-1951 Mercury Master Takes covers some of the best material of her career, a period resulting in music that varied from Cootie Williams to Mitch Miller.