With Cab Calloway – 1944

Dorothy Donegan


A dazzling piano duet with Bennie Payne

Dorothy Donegan (1922-98) was one of the most remarkable pianists in jazz history even though she tended to be underrated due to her flamboyance and off-and-on recording career.

Donegan impressed Art Tatum with her brilliance but had only recorded two songs at the time of this memorable film clip.

In 1944, Donegan made a very memorable appearance in the movie Sensations Of 1945, performing this stunning piano duet with Bennie Payne (Cab Calloway’s regular pianist and no lightweight himself) and the Calloway Orchestra.

The performance builds in excitement as it goes (concluding with some wild conducting by Calloway); it was an early highpoint in Dorothy Donegan’s career which really blossomed in the 1980s when she was rediscovered.

-Scott Yanow