Denise Eileen Garrett, 27 May 1950, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. After making her first public performances singing in the American north west, Garrett became featured vocalist with the University of Illinois big band. In 1970, she married trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, thereafter using her married name, even after their divorce. The couple recorded together, including the well-received Afro-Blue (1974), which also featured tenor saxophonist Ron Bridgewater. In New York during the early 70s she sang regularly with the Thad Jones - Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. She also began a parallel career as a performer in stage musicals, including The Wiz, for which she won a Tony Award in 1975. By the late 70s Bridgewater had opted to work outside jazz, singing pop music on the west coast of America. A long sojourn in Europe found her working more in the jazz field and making further stage appearances, including Sophisticated Ladies in Paris, France, and in London in the leading role...
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