inah Washington was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1924, as Ruth lee Jones.
She moved to Chicago as a child and played piano and sang at her church. At 15 she began to perform secular music and became one of the most influential performers of jazz and R&B ever. Her discography totals forty releases as well as appearances on more than 100 collections and compilations.
She recorded most of her work in these genres before 1959, the recordings from the remaining five years of her life being more accurately described as pop.
She died of an accidental overdose in 1963.