Dee Dee Bridgewater's This is New
JazzSet host Dee Dee Bridgewater has a new album: This is New, a collection of songs by German composer Kurt Weill. The CD, released in Europe at the end of May 2002, is now out in the US and worldwide! Dee Dee's interest in Weill dates to her performance at a centennial tribute concert in Poland in March of 2000.
Listen to "This is New" Music by Kurt Weill/Lyrics by Ira Gershwin, from 1941's Lady in the Dark
Listen to "Lost in the Stars"
Music by Kurt Weill/Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, from 1944's Lost in the Stars
Listen to an interview with Dee Dee from NPR's The Tavis Smiley Show
Here are some of Dee Dee's reflections on the new album and her current tour project, "Gettin' Weill'd":
With this album, I was trying to gracefully segue out of my four-year "Ella" period. I wanted a music that would allow me to put my personal stamp on it. I thought that by concentrating on one composer, the public would say, "Oh, she's done a 'songbook' like Ella."
I love the music because of its dramatic quality...it appeals to my theatrical side because it lends itself to dramatization in performance.
I recorded the album in Paris at Studio XXX, where I recorded my first two Verve albums. I feel at home there. The owner and manager are like family. I felt that in order for me to do this very challenging project, I had to be somewhere comfortable and free of distractions where I could concentrate on the music and be myself.
With this album, I am trying to make the music more accessible. The rhythmic tone of the album stems from my fascination with world music -- a milieu toward which I am moving. Kurt Weill's music is often considered dark and brooding. I hope to show a lighter and more humorous side. It is romantic and moving.
And here's what critics are saying...
"...The production is well oiled, the musicianship beyond reproach, and, of course, Dee Dee Bridgewater's vocals divine. A perfect combination."
-- NetRhythms UK
"(Four Stars) A musical free spirit if there ever was one...her anything-goes brand of vocalizing reinvigorates the music of Kurt Weill. One would be hard-pressed to name another female singer working today who can finesse the theatrical elements of Weill's songs while also infusing them with comparably brilliant scat singing, propulsive swing rhythm, and gorgeously lush tone colors...This is New casts familiar music in a glorious new light."
-- Howard Reich in The Los Angeles Times
"Leave it to Dee Dee Bridgewater, the most charismatic and accomplished jazz vocalist on the scene, to fully exploit the music of this brilliant composer. Her stunning album This is New (Verve) came out last month in France and has already sold more than 40,000 copies, a runaway hit for a jazz recording."
-- Andrew Gilbert in The Mercury News
"This is not entirely new territory for the singer, who's spent much of her career fusing jazz and theater...What is new is that Bridgewater is now creating theatrical music, rather than the more familiar musical theater."
-- Marc Breindel in the The Berkeley Daily Planet
"Feeling she'd reached a dead end improvising on standards -- which she does exceedingly well -- Bridgewater was rejuvenated by the dramatic focus required to sing Weill's songs...She finds plenty of ironic bit and humor in these lighter songs, with their unusual harmonic progressions and phrase lengths."
-- Jesse Hamlin in the The San Francisco Chronicle
"In concert, expect Bridgewater and Weill to be a natural fit...Combine (her) flair for dramatization with the eight-piece band and Weill's equally big music and you have what should be some can't miss concerts..."
-- Jim Harrington in The Oakland Tribune
André Ceccarelli (Drums): "The pillar of my music since my move to France...a guiding force in my band."
Thierry Eliez (Piano, Hammond B3 Organ, Arranger "Lost in the Stars" & "This Is New"): "After eleven years of performing together...he is a partner in constructing and executing my ideas."
Antonio Hart (Alto Saxophone & Flute): "He brings rare warmth to the instrument...a really flexible musician -- comfortable in almost any setting."
Juan-José Mosalini (Bandoneon -- small accordion, on "Youkali"): "Considered among the foremost bandoneon musicians. I was immediately taken by his ease of integrating a jazz sound into his playing."
Louis Winsberg (Guitar): "He has amazing range and has become a true virtuoso of the flamenco sound."
Cecil Bridgewater (Arranger All Songs Except "Lost in the Stars" & "This Is New"): "What can I say? Cecil can enter the artist's space without imposing himself."
Official Dee Dee Bridgewater Web Site
The Kurt Weill Foundation
Plus: Antonio Hart (alto sax, flute), Ira Coleman (bass), Nicolas Fomer (trumpet), Denis Leloup (trombone), Denaiele Scannapieco (alto sax, flute), Minino Garay (percussion), and background vocals by Dee Dee's daughters Tulani Bridgewater Kowalski and China Moses.
Copyright 2007 NPR