Aug 6, 2011
Although she is never one to rest on her laurels, Dee Dee Bridgewater is releasing a new CD of old material. Midnight Sun, a remastered compilation of love songs from throughout her career, on the DDB Records/Emarcy label this week. The material is organized in a way that it is being is billed as "the ultimate mixed tape, traversing landscapes of melodically mournful tales of love lost, heartrending ballads about forever afters and sultry promises of bliss." For completists, there is a track previously released exclusively as a bonus track in Japan, “L'Hymne à l'Amour"..Count me in for this one.
Among the tracks included is “Good Morning Heartache”, a song written by and closely associated with Billie Holiday. Ms. Bridgewater took on the challenge of singing the well known – and well loved - songs of “Lady Day” from a different perspective than many singers might when she went into the studio last year “I tried to take another look at her and make people understand that she was a full-fledged woman with a lot of emotion and talent, not just a melancholic person surrounded by all the drama and pathos that she has been stereotyped with,” she told me. The resulting CD, Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love From Dee Dee Bridgewater, won a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, her third such award.
I had a delightful conversation with Ms. Bridgewater as she was preparing for the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, where she brought the house down with her Billie Holiday tribute. Podcast 226 is that talk, along with selections from her latest and previous releases, including:
Dee Dee Bridgewater – “All of Me” from In Montreux. This standard is still part of her performances twenty years after her live recording at the famous Casino De Montreux. Her band is Bert Van Den Brink (piano); Hein Van De Geyn (bass); and Andre Ceccarelli (drums).
Dee Dee Bridgewater – “Good Morning Heartache” from Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love From Dee Dee Bridgewater, She rightfully received her second Jazz Vocal Grammy Award for her homage to the great jazz singer Billie Holiday. Ms. Bridgewater has a history with Lady Day, having played her on stages in Paris and London in the late 1980’s. She was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award "Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Actress in a Musical” for the part.
Dee Dee Bridgewater – “Demissnw (Children Go 'Round)" from Red Earth – A Malian Journey. Elected in 1999 as one of the United Nations' first Ambassadors for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Bridgewater was granted the unique opportunity to travel to Africa, visiting villages involved with various FAO programs. She made it to Mali in 2004, and was moved to record this CD. This is an updated Sgou 'Griot' song, and features native group N'goni Ba and son Gabriel Durand featured on guitar.
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Title Track from Midnight Sun. The new CD is her first CD composed completely of ballads and her first compilation as well. It kicks off with this Johnny Mercer gem, which was selected for inclusion by producer/manager/daughter Tulani Bridgwater-Kowalski and re-mastered by Doug Sax and Sangwook “Sunny" Nam of The Mastering Lab, Ojai.