WBGO Radar

Dee Dee Bridgewater: "Dee Dee's Feathers"

dee dee bridgewater and irvin mayfield

  "How do you say sexy?” shouted Irvin Mayfield to the audience at the jazzfest in Montreal.

    Meaning sexy en français …

    And they shouted back.

    And he asked again.

    And they shouted again.

    And he asked again, even louder.

    And as the band whipped up a Bourbon Street Second Line, he heralded the answer.

    Dancing from the wings, her smile a beacon to the balcony, Dee Dee Bridgewater.
    Romping and stomping, lively and loving, laughing aplenty and sexy indeed, Dee Dee and Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra were honoring and, ten years since Katrina, celebrating the enduring spirit of the Big Easy.  They’ve been touring the world this summer, presenting all the songs from their new album together,   Dee Dee’s Feathers.  

    Mayfield, leader of the NOJO, is a trumpeter continuing New Orleans traditions that echo deeply from the musical roots of Buddy Bolden and King Oliver and Louis Armstrong through Wynton Marsalis.  “This album,” said Irvin, “is a testament to the continued relevance of New Orleans not only as a thriving city, but also as a muse for communicating truth, love and beauty.”

   “Irvin and his band mates,” said Dee Dee, “bathed me, immersed me, baptized me in the waters of the Mississippi, and exposed me to the roots of New Orleans.”

    “One Fine Thing,” a song of Harry Connick Jr, opened the festivities in Montreal and opens the album.  What follows is a virtual gathering of NOLA’s Greatest Hits — but not as an historical retrospective.  Dee Dee’s Feathers offers a cornucopia of NOLA classics that’s alive and parading.  

    “Big Chief,” the anthem of Mardi Gras, with a very special guest, Dr John.   

    “What a Wonderful World,” the gospel according to Pops.

    Hoagy Carmichael’s “New Orleans.”

    Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday.”

    A hearkening to the drums of “Congo Square.”

    A groove from the TV series Treme, “Do Whatcha Wanna.”

    “St James Infirmary” and “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”
    “For me,” said Dee Dee Bridgewater, “this album is a celebration of life itself."

   - Michael Bourne, host of WBGO's afternoon jazz

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