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Live From New York

November 2007

By Published: November 4, 2007
Dee Dee Bridgewater at Blue Note

Dee Dee Bridgewater performed music from her new record Red Earth at Blue Note Oct. 7th, treating the audience to an amazing musical merging of jazz and traditional Malian music. The sultry songstress took the stage displaying all the "undulating grace referred to in Oscar Brown, Jr.'s classic lyric to her opening number "Afro Blue , joining the electrifying ensemble that augmented her working trio of pianist Edsel Gomez, bassist Ira Coleman and drummer Mino Garay with a troupe of African master musicians. The seamless blending of the rhythm section with kora, balafon, djembe, congas and talking drum yielded a striking sound that situated Bridgewater's vocals in a unique environment, which gave added weight to her words, as in "The Griot , a song she introduced with an explanation of the oral tradition of African music. Noting the distinguished ancestry of the musicians in the troupe, griot sons of griots, the singer told her story in a manner that let all know that the African musical diaspora was very much at home in America. Her rendering of Nina Simone's "Four Women was passionate and poignant, leaving listeners in tears that were wiped away with a beautiful original, "Oh My Love (Djarabi) , on which she was joined by the wonderful "Mamani Keita (in for Oumou Sangare whose vocals are heard on the CD). The set ended with Bridgewater bringing it all back home with the title track from Red Earth, a stomping soulful blues that hearkened to her Memphis roots.

Matt Brewer at Jazz Gallery

Bassist Matt Brewer is already well known on the New York jazz scene as a first-call sideman with an impressive resume that includes stints with Greg Osby, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Jeff "Tain Watts. At Jazz Gallery Oct. 6th he proved himself to be a capable bandleader and composer as well. Fronting a remarkable group of youthful peers — altoist Logan Richardson, guitarist Lage Lund and pianist Aaron Parks — propelled by the powerful drumming of the always exciting veteran Watts, the young leader delivered a set of engaging originals before an attentive and enthusiastic crowd. Brewer's tunes blended thoughtful melodic lines and intriguing harmonies with free flowing rhythms in pieces that consistently satisfied and surprised. The second set's opener, "Fighting Windmills , merged an appealing ethereal melody with a contrasting, somewhat ominous, Middle Eastern-tinged piano part over Watts' cadences, which moved from a martial beat to a dancing AfroCuban feel. The waltzing "So Far that followed was joined to a soulful grooving "Lunar Incandescence by a solo bass interlude that displayed Brewer's virtuosic, yet unpretentious technical abilities. The beautiful ballad "Joya with its melancholic but optimistic mood demonstrated a mature compositional insight that belied the bassist's age. Everyone soloed impressively throughout the night, especially on the closing "Suspicion , but it was the group's cohesion that was most impressive.

~ Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

· Hubert Dupont — Spider's Dance (Ultrabolic)
· Herbie Hancock — River: The Joni Letters (Verve)
· Steve Lehman — On Meaning (Pi)
· Evan Parker/John Edwards/Chris Corsano — A Glancing Blow (Clean Feed)
· Rufus Reid Quintet — Live at the Kennedy Center (Motema)
· John Surman — The Spaces In Between (ECM)
-David Adler NY@Night Columnist,

· Andy Bey — Ain't Necessarily So (12th Street)
· Greg Burk — Ivy Trio (482 Music)
· Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett — Folk Mond & Flower Dream (CBS-Tropical Music GMBH/Bellaphon)
· Sonny Simmons — Last Man Standing (Jazzaway)
· Trio M (Myra Melford/Mark Dresser/Matt Wilson) — Big Picture (Cryptogramophone)
· McCoy Tyner — Quartet (McCoy Tyner Music-Half Note)
-Laurence Donohue-Greene Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

· Yaron Herman — A Time for Everything (Laborie)
· Lucas Niggli Zoom Meets Arte Quartett — Crash Cruise (Intakt)
· Alan Pasqua — The Antisocial Club (Cryptogramophone)
· Slow Poke — At Home (Palmetto)
· Josh Sinton's Holus-Bolus — Altogether...All At Once (s/r)
· Pam and Gary Windo — Avant Gardeners (Reel Recordings)
-Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York

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