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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

dee dee bridgewater

Dee Dee, dis-donc!

"J'ai Deux Amours" ~ CD Review

Clever Sovereign Artists for nabbing the delectable and Cassis-voiced Dee Dee Bridgewater for this gorgeous album, produced by La Bridgewater herself so what a talented lady.

My readers will not need reminding that DDB hosts NPR’s weekly JazzSet, but they may need clueing in that it's *her* duetting with Italian pop group Gabin on the Monster-In-Law soundtrack, that splendid movie where Jane Fonda is so cleverly horrid to JLo.

I'm behind with this review because I usually like to write up buyable albums *before* they're in the shops and taunt buskerian lecteurs with my good luck at getting a free review copy when they have to wait for their AARP pension checks to arrive and then choosing between splurging on a CD or budgeting for their All-Bran and dental paste.

The music is superb, so ignore any cloying blurb the record company puts out (admittedly quoting DDM herself waxing sentimental about her love for la belle France). But I can save myself some background guff by quoting some passable text from the singer, that:

"J’ai Deux Amours  is my way of thanking France, a country that opened its arms to me ... Me, a little girl from Flint, Michigan! Like Josephine Baker, ‘J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris.’”
There , the 'little me from Flint, MI" wasn't too bad. I must see if "little" Mikey Moore can also be persuaded to paraphrase that one.

I'm led to believe that "J'ai Deux" has been available in stores September 13.

To the music, which has had me enthralled and a wonderful balance to all the Frisellia I've been rocking to of late.

Does one have to have lived in France to be sent into an instant reverie at a well-played concertina? I have no idea, but this album does it to me, and Louis Winsberg's guitar work is blessedly muscular and blessedly free of that lounge-lizard toothlessness one might expect.

The tracks are gifts, all the goodies, invoking Piaf and Josephine Baker (and Betty Carter with whom I'm less familiar) such as :

  • La Mer (taken at a ridiculous pace but her voice saves it)
  • Ne Me Quitte Pas
  • Et Maintenant
  • La Vie en Rose, and others I'm sure you'll have as favorites.

    Bridgewater has the perfect voice for this, rising from sexy purr to controlled emoting and in a damn'd good accent, too, grâce à Dieu.

    What I was particularly relieved about was that she hasn't settled for a watered down treatment for the 'international' market, which confirms her sincerity in paying homage to her second love, la France.

    Like all such albums, it comes down to personal reactions - and none is more opinionated than the non-French francophile: I mention "Et Maintenant" but I happen to disagree strongly with her treatment - far too upbeat for me - but her voice is superb throughout and there'll be those who swoon at every track.

    And *whose* is the sexy gallic male voice that pops in and out?

    On the other hand, I love her treatment of "La Vie En Rose", a close favorite of mine that I have strong feelings about, and over which Ms Bridgewater expands my tolerance and horizons.

    How about I say that if I hadn't been sent it for free but heard it at some posh cocktail party, I'd have sought out the details and bought it next day?

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