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Dee Dee Bridgewater
17 Jul 2013
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Dee Dee Bridgewater is a three-time Grammy Award winning jazz singer-songwriter, as well as a Tony Award - winning stage actress and host of National Public Radio's syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater. She is a United Nations Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Born on May 27, 1950 in Memphis, Tennessee, Dee Dee Bridgewater was raised in Flint, Michigan. Her father, Matthew Garrett, was a jazz trumpeter and teacher at Manassas High School, and through his playing, she was exposed to jazz early on. At the age of sixteen, she was a member of a rock and rhythm'n'blues trio, singing in clubs in Michigan. At 18, she studied at the Michigan State University before she went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With their jazz band, she toured the Soviet Union in 1969

The next year, she met trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, and after their marriage, they moved to 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 the lead vocalist. This marked the beginning of her jazz career, and she performed with many of the great jazz musicians of the time, such as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and others. She performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1973. In 1974, her first own album, entitled Afro Blue, appeared, and she also performed on Broadway in the musical The Wiz. For her role as Glinda the Good Witch she won a Tony Award in 1975 as "best featured actress", and the musical also won the 1976 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album

She subsequently appeared in several other stage productions. After touring France in 1984 with the musical Sophisticated Ladies, she moved to Paris in 1986. The same year saw her in Lady Day as Billie Holiday, for which role she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she returned from the world of musical to jazz. She performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990, and four years later, she finally collaborated with Horace Silver, whom she had long admired, and released the album Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver. She performed also at the San Francisco Jazz Festival (1996). Her 1997 tribute album Dear Ella won her the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and the 1998 album Live at Yoshi's was also worth a Grammy nomination. Dee Dee performed again at the Monterey Jazz Festival (1998). She has also explored on This is New (2002) the songs of Kurt Weill, and, on her next album J'ai Deux Amours (2005).

Her album Red Earth, released in 2007, features Africa-inspired themes and contributions by numerous musicians from the West African nation of Mali. She performed at the San Francisco Jazz Festival (2007). On December 8, 2007 she performed with the Terence Blanchard Quintet at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She tours frequently, including overseas gigs around the world. October 16, 2009 found her opening the Shanghai JZ Jazz Festival, in which Dee Dee tunes associated with Ella Fitzgerald, along with Ellington compositions and other jazz standards.



RAMSEY LEWIS Composer, pianist and jazz legend Ramsey Lewis has been referred to as “the great performer,” a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections which display his early gospel playing and classical training along with his love of jazz and other musical forms.

A native Chicagoan, the three-time Grammy winner and recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award represents the great diversity of music for which Chicago is noted. He has received five honorary doctorate degrees and numerous other accolades during his career.

Lewis first captivated fans with his debut album, Ramsey Lewis And The Gentlemen of Swing, by the Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1956. By 1965, he was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with In The Crowd, Hang On Sloopy and Wade In The Water. He has seven gold records to his credit, including his 1974 masterpiece, Sun Goddess, which became a huge crossover hit.

Like the remarkable live performances Lewis continues to give in the U.S. and abroad, his latest album, Ramsey, Taking Another Look (2011) generates rave reviews. The album launched the coming together of a quintet for the current Sun Goddess Tour, composed of Ramsey Lewis Trio members Joshua Ramos (bass) and Charles Heath (drums) with Chicago musicians Henry Johnson (guitar) and Tim Gant (keyboards).


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