Listener Support Brings Back JazzSet to WNCU

NPR’s JazzSet© with Dee Dee Bridgewater is the jazz lover’s ears and eyes on the world of live music. It presents today’s best jazz artists in performance on stages around the world, taking listeners to Puerto Rico and Cuba, as well as Marciac in the French countryside and across the North American continent from Montreal to Monterey.

Closer to home — Jazz 88.3, WBGO-FM in Newark, New Jersey — the program drops in on nightclubs and neighborhoods where people are playing quality jazz to appreciative audiences. Some of the artists appearing on JazzSet stage include Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, and Shirley Horn.

JazzSet has received three distinguished awards: the New York Festivals Gold Medal (1997) and New York AIR Award (in both 1998 and 1999). To find out if you can hear JazzSet in your area, check our station carriage list.

Host Dee Dee Bridgewater

Only a handful of entertainers have ever commanded such depth of artistry in every medium. Fewer still have won a Tony, two Grammy®s, and the top musical honor in France — the Victoire de la Musique — plus been nominated for London theater’s Laurence Oliver Award. Dee Dee captured the hearts of audiences worldwide in The Wiz with her signature song, “If You Believe.” Nick Ashford of Ashford and Simpson said Dee Dee’s rendition “personified a generation and gave us all hope.”

As a sparkling ambassador for jazz, she bathed in 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. Her father was a trumpeter who taught music to Booker Little, Charles Lloyd and George Coleman, among others. It’s the kind of background that leaves its mark on an adolescent, especially one who appeared solo and with a trio as soon as she was able.

Dee Dee’s other vocation, that of globetrotter, reared its head when she toured the Soviet Union in 1969 with the University of Illinois Big Band. A year later, she followed her then husband, Cecil Bridgewater, to New York.

Dee Dee made her phenomenal 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.

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