ROHM presents Jazz singer, Dee Dee Bridgewater on April 30
Considered one of the greatest jazz singer-songwriters of her generation, the American jazz diva, Dee Dee Bridgewater has been singing since the 1970’s and is known for brilliant and heartfelt tributes to past jazz legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday as well as for exploring exciting new horizons in music. Dee Dee Bridgewater performs at ROHM on April 30, Sunday.
Few entertainers have commanded such great depth of artistry in a variety of mediums. Fewer still have been rewarded with as broad a spectrum of prestigious awards, most notably Broadway’s coveted Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical; three Grammy Awards, two for Best Jazz Vocals and one for Best Arrangement; and, along with France’s top honour, Victoire de la Musique in 1998 for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and the French Award of Arts and Letters, the great honour of being the first American to be inducted into France’s Haut Conseil de la Francophonie.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1950, Dee Dee grew up in the world of jazz as her father, Matthew Garrett, was a jazz trumpeter and teacher. At the age of sixteen, Dee Dee was singing with a rock and rhythm and blues trio. She eventually enrolled in Michigan State University and then the University of Illinois. Dee Dee gained valuable experience when she went on tour to the Soviet Union with the University of Illinois Big Band in 1969. After her marriage to trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, Dee Dee settled in New York City, where Cecil played in Horace Silver’s band.
In the early 1970s, Bridgewater joined the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra as lead vocalist. This marked the beginning of Dee Dee Bridgewater’s jazz career. She performed with many of the great jazz musicians of the time, such as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Bridgewater performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1973.
A year later, her first solo album, Afro Blue, was released. She performed on Broadway in the Grammy Award-winning musical, The Wiz as Glinda the Good Witch, winning a Tony Award in 1975 for Best Featured Actress. Bridgewater also made a splash as Billie Holiday in Lady Day and was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award. Another high point was a recording with the famous jazz pianist, Ray Charles, called Precious Thing.
A new era began for Dee Dee when she settled in Paris in 1986 after touring France with the musical Sophisticated Ladies. She also performed at European jazz festivals and created a backup group for her performances. By the late 1980s, Bridgewater’s recordings began to gain favourable notice in America. She performed at the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy and the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990. Dear Ella, Dee Dee’s tribute to the famous American jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald, won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Her string of successes over the past two decades include a performance in 2007 at the prestigious John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her continuing world tours reached the Far East with a performance at the 2009 opening of the Shanghai JZ Jazz Festival. In an event not to be missed by jazz fans, Dee Dee Bridgewater will perform at ROHM on April 30, at 7.30 pm. For further information and booking consult the ROHM website www.rohmuscat.org.om