Dee Dee Bridgewater – This Is New
Dee Dee Bridgewater
(Verve – 2002)
by Carmen Miller
German composer Kurt Weill said it best, ‘there is Only Good Music and Bad Music.’ And This is New is good music. Dedicated entirely to Weill’s music, this CD again demonstrates Bridgewater’s range and mastry of the vocal arts. Most of the tracks here are familiar from stage and screen, as well as from other jazz performers. This Is New has a Casablanca feel from the very start. Speak Low is strong and moody, Bilbao Song mellow and tinged with an airy flavour. Throughout the CD the music is tight, but it’s really all about Dee Dee. Her interpretation and delivery is what sets her apart… and above … today’s average singer. She’s already a diva. Be sure to check the very sassy and theatrical ‘hidden track’ version of Mack the Knife. It’s not on the liner notes, but the last track (listed at 5:43) is actually 11:11 long. Beginning at the 6:40 point Dee Dee takes the Chairman’s theme song in a different direction, delivering a gritty, theatrical interpretation that may stand as one of the best on the CD.
Perhaps the best insight to this great release is found in Dee Dee’s own words… ‘the Songs Come from Musicals and Operettas. They Are Narratives. This Music Appeals to My Theatrical Side Because it Lends Itself to Dramatization in Performance. I Find Kurt Weill to Be Eclectic, Much Like Myself. I also Wanted to Explore Someone Beyond the Jazz Realm. With this Album, I Am Trying to Make the Music More Accessible. The Rhythmic Tone of the Album Stems from My Fascination with World Music – a Milieu Toward which I Am Moving. Kurt Weill’s Music is Often Considered Dark and Brooding. I Hope to Show a Lighter and More Humorous Side. It is Romantic and Moving.’
Yes, what she said and more.