Some spectators traveled hours just to see her perform and they certainly weren’t disappointed. When Dee Dee took the stage of the large performance hall, electricity filled the air. She has that certain charisma. She’s a woman, little girl, temptress and jazz educator all rolled into one dynamic visual and audible package. When she delivers, it’s Federal Express-on time and how you want it!
With the outstanding accompaniment of Thierry Eliez piano, Thomas Bramerie double bass and Dédé Ceccarelli drums, Dee Dee opened the set with Miles’ All Blues. It was a dimensional interpretation, using her hands, body and heart to convey what her voice was creating. A swinging and flirty Undecided changed the mood completely as she dove into her second song. A scat duet with Bramerie, half way through the number, was a nice interplay. The trio worked their variations, soloing through several pieces, the most notable being Thierry tearing it up on organ to Horace Silver’s Filthy McNasty. Other selections included Arlen’s Let’s Fall In Love, Jobim’s How Insensitive and Malneck’s Stairway to the Stars which is a favorite from Dee Dee’s Dear Ella CD. Two Ellington songs also were included, one of which in this writer’s opinion, was the best of the evening’s performance--Shiny Stockings. I haven’t heard it sung better since Ella.
Close to the end of the concert, Dee Dee seized the moment when trying to remove her strappy high heels and the trio jumped on board for a few minutes. The trio broke into a funky instrumental and Dee Dee’s outrageous spoof with Get It On Up had the audience in stitches and clapping along in time.
Shoes off and ready for fun, Dee Dee tantalized a few front row male spectators with her perfect French and coy flirtation, segueing into Cole Porter’s Love for Sale. Drummer Dédé Ceccarelli offered up a rousing drum solo and the performance concluded to a standing ovations and smiles all around.
Dee Dee Bridgewater’s performance was afterglow after having had the opportunity to view her brief rehearsal and sound check, and to speak with her backstage before the concert. She is genuinely friendly and it is always nice to speak with a fellow American in Europe when you have an opportunity. Our conversation touched only briefly on upcoming performance plans, except to say that she will be playing at this year’s North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague. Rather, the best part of the conversation was sharing woman talk about fashion, jewelry and where to buy this and that in Europe. Ego in check, Dee Dee Bridgewater is extremely savvy and easy to talk to, yet her confidence seeps through. It isn’t something tangible, just a feeling that this lady knows what she wants and has the talent and brains to obtain it. Her latest CD is Live at Yoshi’s, a 1999 performance from Yoshi’s World Class Jazz House in Oakland, California.