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Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Kennedy Center

Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Trombonist Sarah Morrow opened Bridgewater's concert.
Trombonist Sarah Morrow opened Bridgewater's concert.

Christian McBride is guest host as Dee Dee Bridgewater takes the stage on JazzSet at the 2006 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. Dee Dee sang at the first Women in Jazz Festival in 1996, where she featured music by Horace Silver. Now she's brought an awesome Latin band, with song lyrics in English, French and Spanish. The tour de force of the evening is "Dansez sur Moi," her freestyle story of a wild adolescent girls' night out in her hometown of Flint, Michigan. Dee Dee's "Besame Mucho" follows immediately.

Trombonist Sarah Morrow, from Pickerington, Ohio, opens the show. Like Bridgewater, she now lives in Paris. Here are Morrow's words about how she met Ray Charles, and later met Bridgewater:

"I was asked to play the jazz trombone part in the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra when [Ray Charles] played there as a guest artist in 1995. After the first concert, I had this strange feeling I should ask to audition for his band. I went backstage and waited for his manager, Joe Adams. Adams said, 'Well dear, what do you do?' I said 'I play trombone.' He replied 'Oh, thank you for asking, but there are no openings in the trombone section right now,' and he turned to walk away. So I blurted out, 'I played lead trombone tonight!!' He stopped, turned around and said, 'That was you?'

"It turned out they needed a trombonist on their next tour, and Mr. Charles had asked, 'Who was the guy that played trombone tonight?' So I left a week later on a one-month tour of Japan, and stayed on in the band for a little under two years. I left then to tour with the former lead bassist for Miles Davis, which is what eventually brought me to stay in France and led to my connection with Dee Dee. I loved the brief time I worked with her over here in Europe, she was a good influence on me to see her charisma and love for the music, to be a great artist but also a nice person. I remember at rehearsals she'd go to every member of the big band and say hello."


Thanks to Dan Gustin, Juanita Nash, and all at the Gilmore. Also Kevin and Debbie Brown and Brian Drewes of Brown & Brown Recording with JazzSet recording engineer and Technical Director Duke Markos.

Our writer is Jill McManus. Becca Pulliam is producer with executive producer Thurston Briscoe III @ Jazz 88 WBGO in Newark.

Copyright 2007 WBGO