Washington and Bubbles (born John W. Sublett) first began working together in the 1910s, while Washington was in his teens. Bubbles was primarily a tap dancer while Washington sang and played piano behind him. By the late 1920s they were on Broadway, performing with Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, and Danny Kaye. They toured Europe in the 1930s and appeared on television and in films, including Calling All Stars (1937) and Cabin in the Sky (1942).
As a pianist, Washington also did sessions with jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong (1930), Bessie Smith (1933), and Coleman Hawkins (1934). He also played trumpet, though he only made home recordings on the instrument. He continued working with Bubbles until 1953, and in 1953-1954 worked with Timmie Rogers and Jonah Jones.