Dee Dee Bridgewater, voice
Edsel Gomez, piano
Craig Handy, saxophone
Kenny Phelps, drums
Kenny Davis, bass
Few entertainers have ever commanded such depth of artistry in every medium as has Dee Dee Bridgewater. Fewer still have been rewarded with Broadway's coveted Tony Award; been nominated for the London theater's West End equivalent, the Laurence Olivier Award; earned France's top honor, the Victoire de la Musique, in 1998; and garnered three Grammy Awards, the most recent for her 2010 release Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Bridgewater made her phenomenal New York debut in 1970 as the lead vocalist for the band led by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, one of the premier jazz orchestras of the time. These New York years marked an early career in concerts and on recordings with such giants as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, and Roland Kirk, as well as rich experiences with Norman Connors, Stanley Clarke, and Frank Foster's Loud Minority.
Bridgewater doesn't care much for labels, and in 1974 she jumped at the chance to act and sing on Broadway, where her voice, beauty, and stage presence won her great success and a Tony Award for her role as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz, where she captured the hearts of audiences worldwide with her signature song, "If You Believe." Her success in this role began a long line of awards and accolades as well as opportunities to work in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Paris, and London. Performing the lead in equally demanding acting and singing roles like Sophisticated Ladies, Cosmopolitan Greetings, Black Ballad, Carmen Jazz, and the musical Cabaret, she secured her reputation as a consummate entertainer.
In addition to her work as a performing and recording artist, Bridgewater is also a powerful voice in the fight to end world hunger as an Ambassador to The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, a position she assumed in 1999. She also recently took over the reins of the NPR program JazzSet from the illustrious Branford Marsalis. A jazz lover's ears and eyes on the world of live music, the broadcast presents today's best jazz artists in performance on stages around the world. Of course, Bridgewater continues to maintain her status as one such superior artist. Her latest album, Midnight Sun, came out in 2011.
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