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Interview By: Melissa Berry
August 11, 2011 - Los Angeles Dee Dee Bridgewater's newest album, Midnight, is, as she explained to me recently, "Love in all its glory — for better or worse — as expressed by some of the most amazing songwriters of our time". It is most definitely an album that makes being in love with love so comfortable, and so "okay".
Compiled of her favorite love songs she recorded during 1993 to 2010, it goes beyond the Great American Songbook to be a sort of Global Songbook, with the songs not only creating a mood and atmosphere, but also suggesting even a setting of time and location.
"Que reste-t-il?” also known as "I Wish You Love", transports the listener to a Paris street café immediately with the arrangement including the ubiquitous French cafe bistro accordion, and Ms. Bridgewater's flawless French accent and interpretation. "The Island", lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman and music by Ivan Lins, takes the listener just there with its hypnotic invitation to come be alone on "The Island"...with...you know, you get the picture. There are two wonderful and familiar Kurt Weill songs: "My Ship" with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and "Speak Low" with lyrics by, of all people, Ogden Nash.The overall tone of Midnight has the viscosity of honey conjuring that warm glow of an amber mood, and all is spun with the confidence of interpretation where there's never a questioning of the musicality or where Ms. Bridgewater is taking the listener.
With the release of Midnight, Ms. Bridgewater continues expanding her multi-faceted career that has spanned forty years of garnering Grammys, a Tony and numerous other theatre awards, and continuing to host NPR's award-winning weekly syndicated show, JazzSet, now in its second decade. Her work includes her own record label —DDB Records. Midnight is her fourth release on her label of her own music, and she chatted enthusiastically about her move into more production with new artists. Her newest project features Theo Crocker, a new young trumpet player with his album soon to be released. This led to a brief aside about trumpet players and what it is about them and their instrument since her first husband was the great trumpet player, Cecil Bridgewater. But, that's another interview!
While keeping all this going, the seemingly tireless Ms. Bridgewater maintains her ongoing work as a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and continues to appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger.
But, for now, Ms. Bridgewater invites you to "relax and bathe yourself in the music of the Midnight Sun." Relax, release and renew and be comfortable with being in love with love.
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