Jun 9, 2012

Dee Dee Bridgewater – Afro Blue

barabara sounds sez:
Dee Dee's first, she was just 23 and she sounds as beautiful as she looks. What a debut. And what a great band she had behind her too, led by the Bridgewater brothers and with Sir Roland too. But this show is all about Dee Dee, especially her take on the title track. Far too good to be OOP. Dusty doesn't disapprove...

dusty sez:
One of the greatest jazz vocal albums of all time – and one of the first true moments of genius from a young Dee Dee Bridgewater! The album's a Japanese only release (proof that they're always hipper to our jazz artists than we are!) – and it features Dee Dee singing material that's quite different than her later R&B-inflected sides from the late 70s – very soaring and spiritual work, delivered in a way that set a whole new standard for jazz at the time! Backing is by a small combo with brothers Ron and Cecil Bridgwater, plus Roland Hanna on acoustic and electric piano, George Mraz on bass, and Motohiko Hino on drums and percussion – but the star of the set is always Dee Dee, who sparkles beautifully on the album's classic versions of "Afro Blue" and "Little B's Poem" – both of which have been redone by many other singers over the years. Other great cuts include "People Make The World Go Round", "Love From The Sun", and "Love Vibrations".

This album first came out on Trio, a brilliant Japanese label that delivered some great music, mostly jazz (Ornette, Mal, Gil Evans, Stanley Cowell and lots more) but also put out some unlikely stuff (T.Rex and the Dead Kennedys!). This rip is from the CD reissue on AMJ. The back cover posted below is from the album, from here.

For a great write-up giving some background to what Dee-Dee and Cecil and the crew recorded around the same time, check out Simon's post of the classic Strata-East joint, Billy Parker's Fourth World over at Never Enough Rhodes...