Dee Dee Bridgewater; Trio 3 at Vanguard

Ron Scott | 3/26/2015, 10:30 a.m.
During her recent engagement at the Blue Note, it became evident Dee Dee Bridgewater is the most dynamite female jazz ...
Dee Dee Bridgewater (Ron Scott photos)

During her recent engagement at the Blue Note, it became evident Dee Dee Bridgewater is the most dynamite female jazz vocalist of this century. She is the epitome of constant motion, an animated human instrument moving as she riffs a scat with the saxophonist or trumpeter, or doing a few dance moves as the pianist runs a few crescendos.

She sang everything from Oscar Brown’s lyrics of “Afro Blue” to Abbey Lincoln’s ballad “The Music Is the Magic,” which quickly intensified with blurring horns and a deep drum. Bridgewater held on to that last note like an enticing, sweet secret.

She was accompanied by her trusted band Dark Funk, a quintet of young guns featuring the trumpeter Theo Crocker, saxophonist Erin Hall, bassist Eric Wheeler, pianist Michael King, drummer Casa Paranske and guest guitarist Gabe Durand, her son.

When Bridgewater performs, she wears her acting persona to the stage, having won a Tony Award for her performance in “The Wiz” and rave reviews for her one woman show as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day,” winner of the 2014 AUDELCO Award.

Whether she is fronting a small band, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra or as during her early days in the 1970s, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Bridgewater leads the swinging charge with potent jazz mixed with her own ingredients of blues and soul.

The three-time Grammy winner will perform at the Blue Note with an all-star lineup for James Moody’s 90th birthday celebration March 24 through March 29. Musicians featured on various nights will include James Carter, Jon Faddis, Najee, Russell Malone, John Lee, Jan Siegel, Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart and Wallace Roney. All proceeds will benefit the James Moody Scholarship for Newark Youth. For a complete listing of musicians, visit bluenote.net.

The seasoned Trio 3, with the jazz forerunners bassist Reggie Workman, saxophonist Oliver Lake and drummer Andrew Cyrille, will bring their exploratory traditional repertoire into the Village Vanguard March 24 to March 29, with two sets at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Although the musicians have been categorized as avant-garde, Workman noted, “Together our music is a combination of traditional and futurist music, of where we came from and where we are going. When we come together, it’s a celebration of our artistic endeavors.”

Trio 3 is a collective of innovative musicians who equally contribute to the group. Lake, Workman and Cyrille all write music for their performances and recordings. Together, they have recorded eight CDs. To add another personality, they also recorded with pianist Geri Allen.

For this upcoming Vanguard engagement, they will play their original tunes as well as a standard or two that you may not recognize after their creative arrangements. As the Vanguard celebrates its 80th anniversary, Trio 3 are celebrating their 27th year as a musical collaborative.

Trio 3 has not performed at the Village Vanguard as a unit in some time. For Workman, the storied basement holds memories dating back to 1961, when he was a member of John Coltrane’s quartet recording “Live at the Village Vanguard” sessions.