Dee Dee’s Feathers, Dee Dee Bridgewater’s collaboration with trumpet master Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), is a dynamic tribute to the cultural spirit of New Orleans and its people’s character on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Bridgewater is a vocal powerhouse who clearly belongs in the pantheon of great jazz vocalists, and her work with Mayfield and the NOJO is simply another demonstration of that truism. The album is a passionate love song to a city rising from the flood waters refusing to become victim to circumstance. Though much has been taken, Bridgewater, Mayfield, and the impressively talented musicians of the NOJO triumphantly demonstrate that much remains.
Featuring a playlist that honors the past by weaving together a program classic tunes like “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans” and new compositions like Mayfield’s nostalgic ballad, “C’est Ici Que Je T’aime,” tunes that ultimately define the spirit of the city. It is classic something old, something new, something borrowed, something—oh, wait, that’s something different, but what the hell—clearly blue.
You can’t go wrong with a repertoire that includes New Orleans classic gems like “Saint James Infirmary” and “Big Chief.” The latter highlighted by a guest invasion from Dr. John. They smash their way through Hoagy Carmichael’s “New Orleans” and the “Treme Song.” The orchestra swings throughout, but what else would you expect, and when Mayfield takes a solo, his aim is true.
The feathers in the album’s title are explained in the short song of the same name by Bridgewater, Mayfield, and percussionist Bill Summers. The feathers are a symbol of life: “Gonna wear feathers in my hair/Wear them feathers til I’m dead.” These songs and the many more like them are the feathers in New Orlean’s hair. Feathers a city that will never die will always wear.
There is also a brilliant version of “The House of the Rising Sun”, which was included as one of two bonus tracks exclusive to Barnes and Noble.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00SZFQGEG]