Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dee Dee’s Feathers (Okeh)
Dee Dee Bridgewater is strong medicine, fully a match for the powerful New Orleans repertoire she performs here. Slinking and seducing her way through Harry Connick, Jr.’s “One Fine Thing,” finding joy and irony in “Saint James Infirmary,” riding the parade beat in “Dee Dee’s Feathers,” challenging Irvin Mayfield’s wa-wa trumpet “wa” for “wa” and scream for scream in Hoagy Carmichael’s “New Orleans,” Bridgewater is a force as primal as a Gulf hurricane.
Much of the music centers on power and ruggedness, but she brings her musicality to every track, singing impeccably in tune and with flawless time even when pushing the rhythm envelope. If “Congo Square,” “Whoopin’ Blues” and Dr. John’s “Big Chief” are contrivances for summoning up the New Orleans party atmosphere, they are contrivances that work. Mayfield’s “C’est Ici Que Je T’aime,” Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” and Bob Thiele’s “What A Wonderful World” dial back the tempo without slacking the energy.
Having lived in New Orleans for eight years, I know what it means to miss it. Bridgewater’s and Mayfield’s passionate version of “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?” doesn’t make missing it any easier.