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Dee Dee Bridgewater has a technique and musicality that bests most performers of her generation, and her understanding of the “great American songbook” makes pretenders pale in comparison.
What a pleasure it was to savor the soft tones, dusky colors and coyly purring phrases she brought to ‘Yes, I’m Ready.’
Over the course of a multifaceted career spanning four decades, Grammy and Tony Award–winning jazz giant Dee Dee Bridgewater has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. Ever the fearless voyager, explorer, pioneer, and keeper of tradition, the three-time Grammy winner most recently won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Eleanora Fagan (1915–1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee.
Bridgewater’s career has always bridged musical genres. She earned her first professional experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones / Mel Louis Big Band, and throughout the 1970s she performed with such jazz notables as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, and Dizzy Gillespie. After a foray into the pop world during the 1980s, she relocated to Paris and began to turn her attention back to jazz. Bridgewater began self-producing with her 1993 album Keeping Tradition (Polydor/Verve) and created DDB records in 2006 when she signed with the Universal Music Group as a producer. Among a series of critically acclaimed CDs, all but one have received Grammy nominations, including her wildly successful double Grammy Award–winning tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Dear Ella. Artist Theo Croker is signed to DDB Records and Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra also recorded a project with Dee Dee released by her label in 2014.
Bridgewater also pursued a parallel career in musical theater, winning a Tony Award for her role as Glinda in The Wiz in 1975. Her other theatrical credits include Sophisticated Ladies, Black Ballad, Carmen, Cabaret, and the Off-Broadway and West End productions of Lady Day, for which Bridgewater received the British Laurence Olivier Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. She is currently on tour worldwide in support of Memphis, her new CD, and in April of 2017 was the recipient of an NEA Jazz Masters Fellows Award, with honors bestowed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Producer’s Circle member Tom G.