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Dee Dee Bridgewater

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Dee Dee Bridgewater
Background information
Birth nameDenise Eileen Garrett
Born (1950-05-27) May 27, 1950 (age 74)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
OriginFlint, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, actress, record producer, songwriter, UN goodwill ambassador, radio host
Years active1966–present
LabelsDDB Records, Sony Masterworks, OKeh Records, Verve, Elektra, MCA

Dee Dee Bridgewater (née Denise Garrett, May 27, 1950) is an American jazz singer and actress. She is a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, as well as a Tony Award-winning stage actress. For 23 years, she was the host of National Public Radio's syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.[1] She is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization.[2]


Born Denise Eileen Garrett to an African American family in Memphis, Tennessee, she was raised Catholic in Flint, Michigan. Her father, Matthew Garrett, was a jazz trumpeter and teacher at Manassas High School, and through his playing, she was exposed to jazz early on. At the age of 16, she was a member of a Rock and R&B trio, singing in clubs in Michigan. At 18, she studied at Michigan State University before she went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With the school's jazz band, she toured the Soviet Union in 1969.[3]

The next year, she met trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, and after their marriage, they moved to New York City, where Cecil played in Horace Silver's band. In the early 1970s, Bridgewater joined the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra as lead vocalist.[4] This marked the beginning of her jazz career, and she performed with many of the great jazz musicians of the time, such as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Wayne Garfield, and others. She performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1973. In 1974, her first solo album, entitled Afro Blue, appeared, and she performed on Broadway in the musical The Wiz.[5] For her role as Glinda the Good Witch she won a Tony Award in 1975 as "Best Featured Actress", and the musical also won the 1976 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

In concert in 1990

She subsequently appeared in several other stage productions. After touring France in 1984 with the musical Sophisticated Ladies, she moved to Paris in 1986. The same year saw her in Lady Day, as Billie Holiday, for which role she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award, as well as recording the song "Precious Thing" with Ray Charles, featured on her album Victim of Love.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she returned from the world of Pop and Contemporary R&B to Jazz. She performed at the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy and the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990, and four years later, she finally collaborated with Horace Silver, whom she had long admired, and released the album Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver. Performed also at the San Francisco Jazz Festival (1996). Her 1997 tribute album Dear Ella won her the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and the 1998 album Live at Yoshi's was also worth a Grammy nomination. Performed again at the Monterey Jazz Festival (1998). She has also explored on This Is New (2002) the songs of Kurt Weill, and, on her next album J'ai deux amours (2005), the French Classics.

Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater giving a masterclass to musicians in Rabat, Morocco

Her album Red Earth, released in 2007, features Africa-inspired themes and contributions by numerous musicians from Mali. Performed at the San Francisco Jazz Festival (2007). On December 8, 2007, she performed with the Terence Blanchard Quintet at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.[6] She tours frequently, including overseas gigs around the world. October 16, 2009 found her opening the Shanghai JZ Jazz Festival,[7] in which she sang tunes associated with Ella Fitzgerald, along with Ellington compositions and other jazz standards.

As a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Bridgewater continues to appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger. Awarded Honorary Doctorates from University of Michigan[8] and Berklee College of Music,[9] Bridgewater makes a concerted effort to mentor and nurture young artists.

In April 2017, Bridgewater was the recipient of an NEA Jazz Masters Award[10] with honors bestowed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and in 2018 was awarded the 2018 Maria Fisher Founder's Award by the Thelonious Monk/Hancock Institute of Jazz.[11] She is currently on tour worldwide in support of her latest CD, Memphis... Yes, I'm Ready.


Bridgewater has a long history of philanthropy and advocacy. Her appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador to the FAO, as well as the ASCAP Foundation Champion Award, along with her ongoing work with UNESCO for World Jazz Day coupled with her recognition as a Doris Duke Artist set in motion her founding of The Woodshed Network. Launched in 2019, The Woodshed Network was conceived as a program for Women in Jazz, to provide professional support and accelerate careers through mentorship, knowledge sharing and community interaction. The program is a collaboration between Dee Dee Bridgewater as artistic director, (DDB Productions + DDB Records), Tulani Bridgewater-Kowalski as Co-Artistic Director & Program Curator (Bridgewater Artists Management), and 651 ARTS with funding by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The first year's alumna include Erinn Alexis (sax), Lakecia Benjamin (sax), Darynn Dean (vocals), Sarah Hanahan (sax), Kennedy (vocals), Amina Scott (bass), and Sequoia Snyder (piano). Program mentors included Sheila Jordan, Arthel Neville, Marilyn Rosen (Marilyn Rosen Presents), Alisse Kingsley (Muse Media Public Relations), Maureen McFadden (DL Media), Jett Galindo (The Bakery LA), Shirazette Tinnin, Fanny Delsol (Motema), Simma Levine (NJ PAC), Robin Tomchin (Motema), Stacie Negas (Sony Masterworks), and Lisa Jefferson (LRJ Account Management), with Bridgewater-Kowalski serving as moderator.


Dee Dee had appeared in such films as the 1979 film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh and the 1984 film The Brother from Another Planet. She has made a guest appearance in the hit sitcom Benson and the hit sci-fi fantasy TV series Highlander: The Series.

Film and Television credits include:

Personal life[edit]

Bridgewater is the mother to three children, Tulani Bridgewater (from her marriage to Cecil Bridgewater), China Moses (from her marriage to theater, film and television director Gilbert Moses) and Gabriel Durand (from her last marriage to French concert promoter Jean-Marie Durand). Her eldest daughter, Tulani Bridgewater, attended the Mirman School for Gifted Children in Los Angeles, CA. She went on to graduate from the Ecole Active Bilingue in Paris, France at age 16, going on to graduate from Vassar College.[citation needed] She serves as Bridgewater's manager under her firm Bridgewater Artists Management and runs Bridgewater's production company and record label (DDB Productions, Inc. And DDB Records).[citation needed] Daughter China Moses is an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, radio host and MTV VJ (France). Her critically acclaimed albums have earned her an international reputation as heir to Bridgewater's legacy. Moses tours worldwide, occasionally sharing the bill with Bridgewater.[citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Bridgewater has won two Grammys with eight nominations.[15]

Year Work Category Label
1989 Live in Paris Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female Nominated
1994 Keeping Tradition Best Jazz Vocal Performance Nominated
1995 Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver Best Jazz Vocal Performance Nominated
1997 Dear Ella Best Jazz Vocal Performance Won
2000 Live at Yoshi's Best Jazz Vocal Album Nominated
2005 J'ai deux amours Best Jazz Vocal Album Nominated
2007 Red Earth – A Malian Journey Best Jazz Vocal Album Nominated
2010 Eleanora Fagan (1915–1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Best Jazz Vocal Album Won

Other accolades[edit]


Year Title Chart positions Label
US Pop[23] US R&B[24] US Jazz[25] US Tra. Jazz[26]
1974 Afro Blue Trio
1976 Dee Dee Bridgewater Atlantic
1977 Just Family 170 13[27] Elektra
1979 Bad for Me 182 57 30[28] Elektra
1980 Dee Dee Bridgewater Elektra
1987 Live in Paris Impulse!
1989 Victim of Love Polydor
1992 In Montreux Polydor
1993 Keeping Tradition Verve
1995 Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver 47 13 Verve
1996 Prelude to a Kiss: The Duke Ellington Album Philips Classics
1997 Dear Ella 5 12 Verve
2000 Live at Yoshi's 44 20 Verve
2002 This Is New 26 7 Verve
2005 J'ai deux amours 37 16 DDB Records
2007 Red Earth: A Malian Journey 31 16 DDB Records
2010 Eleanora Fagan (1915–1959): To Billie with Love 19 14 EmArcy
2011 Midnight Sun (Compilation) 20 9 EmArcy
2015 Dee Dee's Feathers 11 6 OKeh/Sony Masterworks
2017 Memphis... Yes, I'm Ready[29] 10 6 OKeh/Sony Masterworks

As guest

Film soundtrack


  1. ^ "JazzSet Signs Off". Npr.org. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  2. ^ "FAO Ambassabors Programme". Fao.org. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  3. ^ Thomas, Jo (September 22, 1998). "A Singer Is Returning to a Stage Where It All Began". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin. The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Guinness, page 547, (1995) – ISBN 1-56159-176-9
  5. ^ "The Wiz Broadway @ Majestic Theatre – Tickets and Discounts". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  6. ^ "Kennedy Center: The Movie Music of Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard". Kennedy-center.org. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  7. ^ "Review 2009 | Shanghai JZ Festival Official Website". Jzmg.net. Archived from the original on 2016-05-07. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  8. ^ "International Jazz Performer to Receive Honorary Degree at UM-Flint Commencement". News.umflint.edu. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  9. ^ "Julio Iglesias, Doug Morris, Harvey Mason, Dee Dee Bridgewater to Receive Honorary Degrees | Berklee College of Music". Berklee.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  10. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater". NEA. 2016-06-07. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  11. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater – 2018 Maria Fisher Founder's Award Recipient". Hancockinstitute.org. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  12. ^ "The Wiz (Video 1983)". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  13. ^ ""Highlander" The Beast Below (TV Episode 1993)". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  14. ^ "Falstaff on the Moon (Short 1993)". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  15. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater". Grammy.com. 23 November 2020.
  16. ^ "2014 Winners | Audience Development Committee, Inc". Audelco.org. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  17. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater Earns Prestigious ASCAP Honor". Grammy.com. 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  18. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater". Arts.gov. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  19. ^ "2018 Doris Duke Artist Awards". DorisDuke.org. Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  20. ^ "Hancock Institute of Jazz". Hancockinstitute.org. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  21. ^ "German Jazz Trophy: DeeDee Bridgewater Tickets & Karten". Jazzopen.online-ticket.de (in German). Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  22. ^ "Tina Turner, Charlie Musselwhite named to Memphis music hall". Apnews.com. 28 June 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  23. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater: Billboard 200". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater: Jazz Albums". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Dee Dee Bridgewater: Traditional Jazz Albums". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Billboard's Best Selling Jazz LPs" (PDF). Billboard. June 10, 1978. p. 58 – via Americanradiohistory.com.
  28. ^ "Billboard's Best Selling Jazz Albums". Billboard. Vol. 91. June 2, 1979. p. 66.
  29. ^ Russonello, Giovanni (2017-11-23). "Dee Dee Bridgewater Throws Herself a Memphis Soul Party". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  30. ^ "Présumé dangereux (1990)". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 25, 2021.

External links[edit]