June 14, 2024

Dee Dee Bridgewater - Live at Yoshi'sLive at Yoshi’s
Dee Dee Bridgewater
(Verve)
by Carmen Miller

Recorded ‘Live’ in 1998 in California, Live at Yoshi’s is an example of a fine jazz singer singing fine jazz. Now that Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Carmen McRae and Betty Carter are gone, Dee Dee has become the universal incarnation of the jazz singer. This recording is evidence of that fact as she alternately works the room with humor and class, then overwhelms them with her natural talent and polished skills. Ably accompanied by Thierry Eliez (piano and organ), Thomas Bramerie (bass) and Ali Jackson (drums), Dee Dee covers some scat and bop as well as mainstream jazz, a few ballads and even a bit of Funk.

She opens with the decidedly scat-ish “undecided,” slipping smoothly in the Jazzy “Slow boat to China” and then the lovely “Stairway To The Stars”. She goes on to sing “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Cotton Tail,” Midnight Sun” and the hard-bop “Cherokee”. The highlight of the CD has got to be Dee Dee’s 14-minute rendition of “Love For Sale”. The instrumentation is deliciously reminiscent of Herbie Hancock in his Headhunters days. Once again Dee Dee talks to the crowd and sets up “Love For Sale” with a humorous patter that leads into the actual song, delivered with her unique blend of gentle intonation and strong accentuation.

Another enjoyable moment is Dee Dee’s short trip into James-Brown-Land when she performs the Godfather of Soul’s Hit Get up, I feel like being a Sex Machine. First she preaches it like James Brown might have done it, then does it in her best little Ella Fitzgerald voice… only Dee Dee could pull that one off.

There are a lot of fine new female vocalists on the scene, but we should all feel blessed to still have one of the masters still around performing for us in the person of Dee Dee Bridgewater.

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