Dee Dee Bridgewater never stops renewing herself, surprising each time an audience that asks for more, ready to follow her in all her eccentricities, impossible quests and musical journeys. If the singer with her deep voice, overwhelming emotions and powerful rhythm was already a jazz diva, she has, for the past few years, decided to operate in a new register. That of the blues, which she has long refused to explore.
It was her mother who forbade her to sing this music that was synonymous for her with debauchery, alcohol and poverty. Yet by secretly listening to the sounds that called her to her roots, Dee Dee Bridgewater already knew that these songs would set her completely free.
Bursting with laughter like thunder, fiery temperament and communicative energy as a banner, she embarked on a journey that was as much about initiation as it was about geography in search of her origins. African at first by going to Senegal and Mali, then from the south of the United States, spending time in the city of Memphis where she lived her early years. Each time, she listens, learns, creates and is inspired by her own journey to talk about universal issues: the quest for identity, uprooting, social struggles.
Committed since her beginnings to civil rights in the USA, often close to the Black Panther movement and a fervent admirer of Angela Davis, she now tells the story of African-American history, racism, her femininity but also Love. And she has a lot of it! Despite the years, the artist on stage is more sensual than ever. She grooves, she dances, she no longer refuses anything and propagates, as always, an explosive and communicative happiness.
Young Denise grew up in a world dedicated to jazz. Although this would change in the course of her career, she made her father, a trumpet player and music teacher, a role model. Following in his footsteps, in 1971 she joined Thad Jones and Mel Lewis' band as a singer. She gained valuable experience and three years later released her first eponymous, soul and funk oriented album.
In the 70's and 80's, she played in several musicals that would lead her to Paris, where she decided to settle. She stayed in France for almost 20 years, falling in love with a Frenchman. An album in which the singer expresses herself in the language of Molière, J'ai Deux Amours (2005), was released.
The 90s marked the beginning of the dazzling success of the woman who would become a reference singer in the world of jazz. By performing Precious Things with Ray Charles, she achieved a recognition and consecration never before known. A commercial success that will never be denied again !
Committed from the outset to fighting the social inequalities and racism that she suffers doubly as a black woman, she became involved at the international level in 1999. She then became a goodwill ambassador for the UN, for food and agriculture.
The year 2017 marks a turning point in the singer's career. While she had always refused to produce blues, she finally embraces her roots with the album Memphis... Yes, I'm Ready. A title in the form of a claim and a liberation for the artist in a style tailored to her.
Wow! All dressed in red, right down to her hat, which she'll eventually get rid of, Dee Dee is a real whirlwind. In her early sixties, she will electrify the stage, singing, dancing, screaming! She offers us a superb duet with Captain Kirk and at the end, Black Thought will give the impression of a shy little boy refusing what looked like a verbal joust. Touching and powerful !
Between us and France's lover Dee Dee Bridgewater, it's a story that lasts and fills us with happiness. Her words for a better world, her fruitful search for forgotten origins, her prodigious energy and her joie de vivre take us to each concert in a dancing whirlwind of happiness. Without exaggerating the line, we can certainly say that we have before us an immense lady of jazz and blues.
Dee Dee Bridgewater's latest recital, Memphis is a soul & blues feast, a total celebration, a lesson in civics and a monument to soul & blues music. The so francophile jazz singer, ends her eminently theatrical show with a scoundrel: "So ! Are you shocked that your jazz singer has returned to the blues ? "Oh, not in the least. Again and again !