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Vocal Jazz - Released September 15, 2017 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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Back to square one for Denise Eileen Garrett a.k.a. Dee Dee Bridgewater: Memphis! The very city where she was born on the May 27th, 1950. The Frenchiest American singer releases here a tribute to one of the United States’ most musical city. A city she left with her parents at three old to move to industrial Flint, in Michigan. But her career proves that those three years were enough to shape the rest. Recorded in the famous Royal Studios in Memphis, and produced by Kirk Whalum and Lawrence Mitchell (grandson of Hi Records’ Willie Mitchell), the album gathers together carefully selected local gems of soul and blues. Classics interpreted for instance by Otis Redding (Try A Little Tenderness), B.B. King (The Thrill Is Gone), Soul Children (The Sweeter He Is written by Isaac Hayes and Dave Porter), Elvis Presley (Don’t Be Cruel and Hound Dog), Carla Thomas (B-A-B-Y also by the Hayes/Porter duo) and Al Green (I Can't Get Next To You written by Barrett Strong), to which Dee Dee Bridgewater gives her trademark and immensely enjoyable boosts. After celebrating New Orleans in Dee Dee’s Feathers, here comes another tribute, equally classy, perhaps groovier and with more dancing, but which demonstrates that everything her voice touches usually turns to gold. © CM/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Universal Music Group International

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released April 10, 2015 | Okeh

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Universal Music Group International

These Parisian café tunes bring out the best in this stellar jazz singer, particularly on the opening title track. Accompanied by accordion, which introduces the song, Dee Dee Bridgewater takes you from Paris down to the French Riviera with a warm, slightly island sound as she sings en français. And she has no problem creating her soothing jazz pipes regardless of language. It's as if she's been influenced by the greats but also by the late Henry Mancini in terms of some of the arrangements. A cover of "La Mer (Beyond the Sea)" is a faster, up-tempo approach far different than the swinging version by Bobby Darin. Guitarist Louis Winsberg also does a commendable job on this song. Bridgewater shines on several of these songs, especially her tender, hushed tone during "Ne Me Quitte Pas"'s opening before she opens up with drum brushes in the background. She changes things slightly during "Mon Homme (My Man)" when she opts to sing in both French and English, the latter in a rather swinging, tropical manner. The strength of the album is in the selections that suit the singer to a tee, including the soothing, down-tempo arrangement of "Que Reste-T-Il de Nos Amours," holding notes in the vein of Cassandra Wilson or Shirley Horn. The highlight is the dreamy ten-minute "La Belle Vie (The Good Life)" that opens with Bridgewater and a lone bass. In no hurry to finish the tune, Bridgewater seems to outdo herself as an accordion fades in and out of the song prior to a glistening guitar solo. Perhaps the lone aberration is "La Vie en Rose," which has less jazz and more of a world feeling to it as the drums and percussion create a sense of tension. Bridgewater has made a very good album. Tres bien. ~ Jason MacNeil
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Universal Music Group International

Midnight Sun, issued by Decca/Emarcy, is a ballads collection of jazz and pop standards assembled from Dee Dee Bridgewater's recordings for Verve and other UMG-associated labels dating back to 1993's Keeping Tradition, and moving through 2010's Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee. For those who've followed Bridgewater's career by collecting her albums over the last 18 years, there is only one track here you likely don't already own, a gorgeous version of the Edith Piaf standard "L'hymne a L'amour (J'ai Deux Amours)," previously only issued in Japan as a bonus track on the album of the same name. It's a gorgeous duet with guitarist Luis Winsberg sung in both French and English. Other highlights here include the title track from 1997's Dear Ella album (written by Johnny Mercer), her fine version of the Earl Brent and Matt Dennis nugget "Angel Eyes" from Keeping Tradition, "Lonely Woman," from Love & Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver, and Kurt Weill's and Jay Lerner's "Here I'll Stay" from This Is New, released in 2002. As an album, these tracks -- all beautifully remastered -- hold together very well despite the variety of instrumental settings, and Bridgewater imbues them all with her consummate phrasing and intimacy. ~Thom Jurek
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Pop - Released February 5, 2008 | Rhino - Elektra

Neither 1977's Just Family nor 1979's Bad for Me, the two albums combined for this Collectables release, can be considered Dee Dee Bridgewater's best work, but fans of mature, mid- to late-'70s R&B should find them moderately appealing. Though Bridgewater wouldn't really hit her stride until her return to jazz in the '90s, she was more than competent when it came to fitting in with the likes of Phyllis Hyman, Patrice Rushen, Minnie Riperton, and Patti Austin. Confoundingly, her only two chart hits -- the title tracks -- are contained here, while "Children Are the Spirit (Of the World)," "Sweet Rain," "Open Up Your Eyes," and "Don't Say It (If You Don't Mean It)" would have to be included on an anthology of her first five albums. Just Family and Bad for Me would have benefited from a track or two with the contagious energy heard on her version of Allen Toussaint's "It Ain't Easy" (found on her self-titled 1976 album for Atlantic), along with a couple sweeter ballads. ~ Andy Kellman
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Universal Music Mexico

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Blues - Released January 1, 2010 | Universal Music Group International

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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

This release is more properly identified as a various artists compilation, which includes the pop sounds of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Most of the orchestrations and arrangements are pleasant, even if they're not blatantly original. Alto saxophonist Bobby Watson is superb on "Mood Indigo" and the exotic "Fleurette Africaine." The orchestra does a fine job with the rarely heard suite "Night Creature." Singer Dee Dee Bridgewater shines frequently; backed by a superb quartet including Wynton Marsalis, she delivers a delightful cover of "I'm Beginning To See The Light." But it is her hypnotic, chanting introduction, backed by Middle Eastern percussion and Steve Turre's conch shells, that gives this release an occasional freshness usually lacking in similar Ellington tributes. ~ Ken Dryden
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Universal Music Group International

Dee Dee Bridgewater may be the first jazz singer to devote an entire release to the theater music of Kurt Weill. She's in great form, with arrangements for the most part by her ex-husband Cecil Bridgewater. "Bilbao Song" is quite novel, with the addition of exotic flamenco guitars and percussion and a guest appearance by Antonio Hart on flute, and her tender interpretation of "My Ship" is first rate. "Alabama Song" leans more toward outright blues, with a saucy vocal and churning Hammond B3 organ. The obscure "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" starts out funky, but its middle section is pure hard bop with a fine solo by alto saxophonist Daniele Scannapieco. But the overly pop sound of keyboardist Thierry Eliez's scoring of "This Is New"; the uninspired chart of "Speak Low," which detracts from her fine singing and the bland French cabaret setting of "Youkali" hardly make them memorable. Still, she has to be admired for taking a chance by covering so many of Kurt Weill's songs (while avoiding the obvious choice of "Mack the Knife"), most of which have been overlooked in the decades since his death in 1950. ~ Ken Dryden
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Jazz - Released November 7, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Jazz - Released April 17, 2015 | Okeh

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Jazz - Released September 15, 2017 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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There's no question that Dee Dee Bridgewater is one of America's great jazz vocalists, but that's hardly the only thing she can do. Bridgewater was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and while her family pulled up stakes for Flint, Michigan when she was only three, she still feels a spiritual connection with the city and its music, and on 2017's Memphis...Yes, I'm Ready, she puts her love of vintage soul and blues front and center. Bridgewater recorded Memphis...Yes, I'm Ready at Royal Recorders, the Bluff City studio where producer Willie Mitchell cut a string of hits with Al Green in the '70s, and Willie's son Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell co-produced the sessions along with Dee Dee and her daughter Tulani Bridgewater. Mitchell pulled together a splendid studio band for this album, including a few members of the old Hi Rhythm Section, and they deliver a superb set of soulful grooves, at once swampy and emphatic, with John Stoddart's electric piano, Jackie Clark's bass, and James "Bishop" Sexton's drums generating just the right amount of funk. With a top-shelf soul band cooking behind her, Dee Dee Bridgewater steps up as a top-shelf soul singer, smooth when she should be, good and gritty when she wants to be, and sounding tough, passionate, and firmly in command at all times. That Bridgewater delivers on soul classics such as "Yes, I'm Ready," "Try a Little Tenderness," and "B.A.B.Y." is not a great surprise, but her transformation of B.B. King's blues perennial "The Thrill Is Gone" into a smoky late-night groove is both unexpected and welcome, and she works an impressive transformation on two numbers associated with Elvis Presley, "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog," finding a tough R&B center inside them. "The Sweeter He Is" gives Dee Dee a chance to open up her soul and tell us some home truths about cheating men, and the closing performance of the gospel standard "(Take My Hand) Precious Lord" is glorious. Dee Dee Bridgewater strips off some of the polish from her style on Memphis...Yes, I'm Ready without betraying her talent or best musical instincts, and this detour into Soul City is a treat that should please her fans, as well as anyone who digs Southern soul. ~ Mark Deming
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Jazz - Released September 1, 2017 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Universal Music Group International

Bridgewater's heartfelt tribute to Ella Fitzgerald is a resounding testament not only to the legendary jazz vocal icon, but also to Bridgewater's own faithful singing style, rich in Ella's tonal quality particularly on the high end. Her inflections are also quite natural, rather than self-effacing or forced. Some of the tracks vary in group size, as duo (with Kenny Burrell), trio (with Lou Levy leading on piano), or combo (with Milt Jackson, Antonio Hart, Grady Tate, Slide Hampton, and brother Cecil Bridgewater). Nine of the total 13 cuts have big-band backing, or orchestral settings arranged and conducted by John Clayton. "Midnight Sun" is perhaps the best of all ballads, and here Dee Dee sings with ravishingly lush, near-frightening efficiency. She cops Ella best on "Stairway to the Stars," with the piano trio leading and strings following along. She picks up on Ella's cutesiness for "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," while starting balladic, then swinging well during "Mr Paganini." Brother/trumpeter/arranger Cecil writes a neat call-and-response with horns and the singer on "Undecided," and they wail together in convincing, authentic fashion on "Lady Be Good." Andre Cecceralli, with the trio on "Mack the Knife," adds a dash of contemporary flavor. Bridgewater's finale "Dear Ella" is the end-all tribute with guitarist Burrell only as accompanist and author. They thank the legend for her enormous contributions which need no additional comment. This is certainly Dee Dee Bridgewater's most ambitious, and finest recorded production. You have to appreciate the reality of Fitzgerald's influence on thousands of musicians, but on this CD, it all comes home to roost. Highly recommended, for the singer's attitude and the brilliant backup musicians who nod in total agreement. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Universal Music Group International

Dee Dee Bridgewater's move to France awhile back has resulted in her having a relatively low profile in jazz. This excellent live set should help restore her reputation. Whether it be a three-song Horace Silver medley, the warhorse "All of Me," Jobim's "How Insensitive," "Night in Tunisia" or the rarely performed "Strange Fruit," Bridgewater (who is backed by a French rhythm section) is in top form, singing with swing and sensitivity. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Universal Music Group International

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Jazz - Released July 14, 2017 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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Jazz - Released August 11, 2017 | Okeh - Sony Masterworks

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Pop - Released February 5, 2008 | Rhino - Elektra