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Red Earth - A Malian Journey

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iTunes Review

Though it’s been touted as an exploratory piece of afro-jazz fusion, Dee Dee Bridgewater’s revelatory Red Earth: A Malian Journey is as much a nostalgic love letter to the heroes of early seventies soul-jazz as it is an exercise in cross cultural genre bending. At least half of Red Earth is devoted to ambitious reworkings of socially and musically progressive soul-jazz classics: Nina Simone’s “Four Women”, Gene McDaniels’ “Compared To What”, Wayne Shorter’s lithe “Long Time Ago”, and Bridgewater’s own masterwork “Afro Blue.” Bridgewater brings life to these potentially worn out standards by fleshing out their traditional arrangements with a fearsome array of Malian instrumentalists, who find a way of morphing even the relatively straight ahead “Four Women” into a polyrhythmic free for all. It is this willingness to experiment that makes magic out of the combination of Bridgewater’s relatively traditional, Dinah Washington inspired vocal tones, and the lilting Malian melodies of tunes like “Griots” and “No More.” Despite her stridently American vocal inflections Bridgewater always sounds completely at ease with the serpentine arrangements provided by her accompanists, making Red Earth one of the most refreshingly vital jazz albums of recent years.

Customer Reviews

Expanding Boundaries

Is there NOTHING this woman can't do? Dee Dee Bridgewater is, quite simply, the finest jazz vocalist around these days. While some simply rest on their laurels, Dee Dee keeps on evolving - bringing her listeners along for the ride. What a ride this is! Love it! Love it! Love it!

Amazing Jazz!

This is really different, but a breath of fresh air! Wonderful.

Chops & class

Bridgewater shows versatilaty and breadth of knowledge by choosing her songs and collaborators. Choosing both original songs and classic west african songs shows guts and cool. The cast of musicians include Toumani Diabate, Basekou Kouyate, Baba Sissoko, Cheikh Tidane Seck just to name a few. Bad Spirits, Four Women, and the jazz standard Compared to What.


Born: May 27, 1950 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the best jazz singers of her generation, Dee Dee Bridgewater had to move to France to find herself. She performed in Michigan during the '60s and toured the Soviet Union in 1969 with the University of Illinois Big Band. She sang with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis orchestra (1972-1974) and appeared in the Broadway musical The Wiz (1974-1976). Due to erratic records and a lack of direction, Bridgewater was largely overlooked in the jazz world by the time she moved to France in the '80s. She appeared...
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