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"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Dee Dee Bridgewater

Smitty: It is certainly a privilege and an honor to welcome my next guest to; her voice is so strong yet so pleasingly harmonic; she has a stunning new CD called “J’ai Deux amours”; please welcome the gorgeous and so very talented, the incomparable Sovereign Artists recording artist, Ms. Dee Dee Bridgewater. Dee Dee, bon jour! Comment allez vous?

Dee Dee Bridgewater (DDB): Comment allez vous? Bon jour, bon jour, Smitty. (Laughing). What a great introduction!

Smitty: And well deserved (laughing)!

DDB:  Myyyy!

Smitty: Oh,.…I’m so happy to talk with you, and I feel as though I’m fulfilling a dream, so thank you very much.

DDB: You are very welcome.

Smitty:  How’s everything going for you?

DDB:  Oh, everything…everything is going well. I’m in L.A. visiting my eldest daughter, who is about four months pregnant. I thought I’d come and spend a few days with her and her husband and help out.

Smitty:  That’s nice.

DDB:  So that’s where I am. I am visiting my daughter.

Smitty: Well, this is certainly a happy time for you.

DDB: Yes, I’m going be a grandmother for the first time.

Smitty: Ohhhh!

DDB: I’m so excited. I’m stoked, stoked, stoked. I’m gonna be the hippest, sexiest grandma ya ever saw. Oh yeah. Okay.  (Laughing.)

Smitty: I am so sure of that, and congratulations.

DDB:  Thank you.

Smitty: Well, you are getting such rave reviews for this great new CD, and rightly so.

DDB:  Well, thank you.  I’m…I am ecstatic about the reviews, I’m ecstatic about the record air play, I am over the moon that the album received a Grammy nomination….stunned is more like it.

Smitty:  (Laughing.)

DDB:  But, you know, it was a very risky project for me, and it’s a project that I’d wanted to do since like ’95 and I put it in a drawer because when I actually thought about putting it together, it was at the same time that Ella Fitzgerald died, and then I kind of derailed my…all of my musical dreams and put ‘em on hold when I did the tribute to Ella. (Dear Ella)

Smitty: Yes, and what a beautiful tribute.

DDB:  Thank you. So I’m just glad that I finally got back to it, you know, and thanks to the wonderful Derek Gordon, who was running the jazz program at the Kennedy Center, who’s now heading up jazz at the Lincoln Center, because he asked me to do two concerts last year at the Kennedy Center for Valentine’s Day as part of a three-month series at the Kennedy Center honoring French culture. So I literally flew the musicians who are on the album in to Washington, D.C. on February 11 and I selected songs that I thought an American public would know because most of the songs on the CD have been big hits in their English versions, and we came up with arrangements together, and literally two and a half days later, went downstairs from the rehearsal hall to back stage, changed clothes and went on stage.  (Laughing.)

Smitty:  Wow!

DDB:  So the album has come out of that performance and the demand by the public from the two concerts to do an album of the music. I had no idea that it would get the response that it’s gotten, especially here in the United States. I’m over the moon.

Smitty:  Well, I tell you, I put this CD on when I got it…

DDB:  Mm-hmm.

Smitty:  …and I felt like I was in France.

DDB:  Oooh.

Smitty:  I felt as though I was in love, and the music is just so all encompassing. It was just a great mix of music, and I just fell in love. I called Alisse [Kingsley] and just told her I was going nuts over this record. (Laughing.)

DDB:  I’m so happy to hear that, I really am.

Smitty: Oh yes.

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