DSO Presents Grammy and Tony Award-winning jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater at Orchestra Hall In: “To Billie With Love”


DETROIT, (Oct 20, 2010) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will present Grammy and Tony Award-winning jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater at Orchestra Hall on Fri., Nov. 5, 2010 at 8 p.m. in her tribute to jazz legend Billie Holiday: “To Billie With Love”.  This 2010-11 Jazz Series performance is sponsored by MGM Grand Detroit, and will feature selections from Bridgewater’s 2010 album Eleanora Fagan: To Billie With Love From Dee Dee. The quartet backing Bridgewater includes saxophonist Craig Handy, pianist Edsel Gomez, drummer Greg Hutchinson, and bassist Ira Coleman. This concert is preceded by Civic Jazz Live! Featuring the Civic Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Combo A in the Music Box at 6:30 p.m.


As an ambassador of jazz, Dee Dee was familiar with its music before she could walk. Her mother played the greatest albums of Ella Fitzgerald, whose artistry provided an inspiration for Dee Dee throughout her career. Dee Dee’s other vocation as that of globetrotter began when she toured the Soviet Union in 1969 with the University of Illinois Big Band.  Dee Dee made her New York debut in 1970 as the lead vocalist for the band led by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, one of the premier jazz orchestras of the time. These New York years marked an early career in concerts and on recordings with such giants as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach and Roland Kirk, and rich experiences with Norman Connors, Stanley Clarke and Frank Foster’s “Loud Minority.”

In 1974 she jumped at the chance to act and sing on Broadway where her voice, beauty and stage presence won her great success and a Tony Award for her role as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz. This began a long line of awards and accolades as well as opportunities to work in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Paris and in London where she garnered the coveted “Laurence Olivier” Award nomination as Best Actress for her tour de force portrayal of jazz legend Billie Holiday in Stephen Stahl’s Lady Day. Performing the lead in equally demanding acting/singing roles as Sophisticated Ladies, Cosmopolitan Greetings, Black Ballad, Carmen Jazz and the musical Cabaret (the first black actress to star as Sally Bowles), she secured her reputation as a consummate entertainer.


From the time he arrived in New York at age 23 in 1986, saxophonist Craig Handy was acknowledged as a musician with big, burly tenor sound, sharp wit, and above all, individuality. Over the next few years he would breath life into those accolades through a number of important associations: holding his own on the front line of legendary bebop drummer Roy Haynes’ band, working with South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, and weaving sensuous obbligati behind Betty Carter on the kind of tunes most young artists are presumed not to understand.

“What’s most dazzling about his second disc is his individuality,” wrote Norman Weinstein for the Boston Phoenix. “Handy soars. He transforms ‘Spinning Wheel’ by Blood, Sweat & Tears into cubist calliope music. He empties the sappy sentimentality out of standards by Gordon Jenkins and Marvin Hamlisch, replacing them with taut passion. Already a technical master in his 20s, he has, unlike many of his generation, decided that what comes after technique is haunting communication.”


2007 Grammy award nominee Edsel Gomez is today one of the premier Latin Jazz pianists in the world. Born in Puerto Rico in 1962, he began piano studies at age five. He grew up in a musical environment that allowed him to master afro-Caribbean rhythms in depth, working since childhood with an incredible array of Latin music idols such as Marvin Santiago, Celia Cruz, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, Santitos Colon, Cheo Feliciano, Roberto Roena, Willie Colon, Ismael Rivera Jr., Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Olga Guillot, Lola Flores, Marco Antonio Muñiz, among many others.

Edsel works around the world as Dee Dee Bridgewater’s pianist/arranger, along with new projects that include Jack DeJohnette’s “Latin Proyect” featuring Giovanni Hidalgo, Don Byron, Luisito Quintero and Jerome Harris; Conrad Herwig’s “Latin side of Miles” (“Another Kind of Blue-Live at the Blue Note”-Half note records and “The Latin Side of Coltrane”-Criss-Cross) featuring Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Valentin, Brian Lynch, Richie Flores, Mario Rivera, Robbie Ammeen and John Benitez, and a collaboration with Vocalist Janis Siegel.


Ever since his professional debut as a teen-aged sideman for trumpeter Red Rodney, Greg Hutchinson has offered eloquent testimony that youth must have its say. Today he is still a young man, and still thick with the freshness of invention that was evident from the start. However, his youth is balanced with a maturity gained from valuable associations with the likes of Betty Carter and Joe Henderson.

After his work in the Betty Carter Trio, Hutchinson began a successful association with the Roy Hargrove Quintet, which continues to this day. The drummer has sparked Hargrove’s band on two records and numerous concert performances. During his time with the firebrand young trumpeter, Hutchinson continues to perform and record with more experienced artists, most notably tenor great Joe Henderson. His appearance on Henderson’s celebrated ‘Lush Life’ prompted Gary Giddins to call his drum work “elegant and dancing”.


Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Ira Coleman began his music studies in the classical genre while attending Germany’s “Hochscule für Musik Köln” in Cologne.  He later received his Diploma in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.  Considered among the most respected accompanists, Ira Coleman has collaborated with artists Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Monty Alexander, Mulgrew Miller, Tony Williams, Anjelique Kidjo, Freddie Hubbard, the Ellington Orchestra and the Betty Carter Trio among others.  Ira’s wonderful sound and generous style have made him an integral part of Dee Dee Bridgewater’s group.

Tickets for Dee Dee Bridgewater – To Billie With Love on Nov. 5 range in price from $19 to $63 with a limited number of box seats available for $99. Tickets may be purchased and/or reserved at the DSO Box Office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit), by calling the DSO at (313) 576-5111 or by visiting www.detroitsymphony.com.

The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros and collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season. The DSO offers a year-round performance schedule that includes classical, pops, jazz, young people’s concerts and festivals. The DSO makes its home in historic Orchestra Hall, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, and actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music. For more information, please visit www.detroitsymphony.com.



Dee Dee Bridgewater: “To Billie With Love
Sponsored by MGM Grand Detroit

Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocalist, leader
Craig Handy, saxophone
Edsel Gomez, piano
Greg Hutchinson, drums
Ira Coleman, bass

Orchestra Hall 
November 5, 2010 at 8 p.m.
Program to be announced from the stage.
The DSO does not appear on this program.

Concert preceded by Civic Jazz Live! Featuring the Civic Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Combo A in The Music Box at 6:30 p.m.



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