Dee Dee Bridgewater Performing at Grand Hotel Following Great Reviews in Detroit

Reviews were fantastic for Dee Dee Bridgewater’s performance at the Detroit International Jazz Festival on Saturday. She will be performing at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island this afternoon:

Jazz vocalist Bridgewater the best in the business

By Mark Stryker
Free Press Music Critic

When she is on her game, Dee Dee Bridgewater is the most commanding jazz singer on the planet. That’s a mouthful, of course, but her performance Saturday afternoon at the Detroit International Jazz Festival should settle any arguments.

Backed by a strong student big band from Michigan State University led by native Detroiter Rodney Whitaker, Bridgewater several arrangements from her late’ 90s recording honoring Ella Fitzgerald.

Songs like “Oh, Lady Be Good,” recast as a majestically swinging waltz, and the coquettish “Undecided” (both arranged by her former husband, Cecil Bridgewater), showed off all of her gifts: the honeyed clarity of her voice; the agility and accuracy that let her grab any note in any register that struck her fancy; a storyteller’s knack for drama; and a rhythmic authority that allowed her to swing taffy pull phrases or swoop down on a lyric like a hawk.

She took big risks and reaped big rewards, improvising freely and scat singing with an exuberance that never mortgages good taste.

But technique doesn’t begin to describe the dynamism she brought to the stage. Her presence was luscious — a combination of visuals, attitude and musicianship.

She wore a strapless black dress that accentuated her curves and a gossamer red wrap. Her pate was shaved, and her face sported a 1,000- kilowatt smile and ruby lipstick. Her patter was all sass, and, like her singing, toyed with the malleable border between flirtatiousness and salaciousness.

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4 Comments

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