The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Share on Social Media

Information about Dee Dee Bridgewater

Profile image of Dee Dee Bridgewater

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Actress

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Any Island
Favorite Quote:
Awesome Sauce.

Birthplace

Born:
5/27/1950
Birth Location:
Memphis, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Actress

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Any Island
Favorite Quote:
Awesome Sauce.

Birthplace

Born:
5/27/1950
Birth Location:
Memphis
See how Dee Dee Bridgewater is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater was born on May 27, 1950 in Memphis, Tennessee. Raised in Flint, Michigan, Bridgewater was exposed early to jazz music; her father, Matthew Garrett, was a jazz trumpeter and teacher at Manassas High School. After high school, Bridgewater attended Michigan State University before transferring to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1969, she toured the Soviet Union with the University of Illinois Big Band.

In 1970, Bridgewater met and married trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater and moved to New York City. She sang lead vocals for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra in the early 1970s, and appeared in the Broadway musical The Wiz from 1974 to 1976. Bridgewater also released her first album in 1974, entitled Afro Blue. Then, after touring France in 1984 with the musical Sophisticated Ladies, she moved to Paris in 1986 and acted in the show Lady Day. Bridgewater also formed her own backup group around this time and performed at the Sanremo Song Festival in Italy and the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990. Four years later, she collaborated with Horace Silver and released the album Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver. She then released a tribute album, entitled Dear Ella, in 1997, and the record Live at Yoshi’s in 1998. Subsequent albums included This is New (2002); J'ai Deux Amours (2005); Red Earth (2007); and Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater (2010). She has also performed with the Terence Blanchard Quintet at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and opened the Shanghai JZ Jazz Festival in 2009. Bridgewater also appeared regularly at other music festivals and on numerous television shows, radio programs, and in feature films. She owns a production company and record label, and has hosted NPR’s syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater since 2001. In addition, Bridgewater served as a United Nations Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Bridgewater has received seven Grammy Award nominations and won three. She also won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Wiz. Bridgewater was the first American to be inducted to the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie and has received the Award of Arts and Letters in France, as well as the country’s 1998 top honor, Victoire de la Musique.

Dee Dee Bridgewater was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 10, 2014.

See how Dee Dee Bridgewater is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dee Dee Bridgewater's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her mother's education and occupation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her father's education and musical talent
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about how her parents met and married
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her father's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her relationship with her sister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the St. Matthews Catholic School in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her early musical influences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her teenage personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her high school education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater reflects upon the role of religion in her upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her artistic development
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her experiences of sexual abuse in the Catholic church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her experiences of childhood sexual abuse
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers forming The Irisdescents
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about the prevalence of childhood molestation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her college aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the development of her political consciousness
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her college counseling
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her activism with the Black Panther Party
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her early singing performances
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers meeting her first husband, Cecil Bridgewater
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers obtaining an illegal abortion
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls transferring to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls joining the Jazz Big Band at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers touring the Soviet Union with the Jazz Big Band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about jazz music in the Soviet Union
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers Horace Silver
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her collaboration with Horace Silver
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes the jazz fusion scene in the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her development as a musician
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her early albums
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about the contention over casting for 'The Wiz' movie
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her relationship with Gilbert Moses
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the critical acclaim for her album, 'Dee Dee Bridgewater'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater reflects upon her experiences performing in 'The Wiz'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her album, 'Just Family'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her television appearances