Down Beat - 11/97, p.604 stars (out of 5)
- "...the arrangements throughout are top-notch, the support team excellent and Bridgewater sings and scats with a rhapsodic gusto..."
Vibe - 11/97, p.155
"...To do Fitzgerald justice is a daunting challenge...Bridgewater comes fully equipped....[She] illustrates the warm, sacred, nighttime Ella that we dream about..."
Personnel includes: Dee Dee Bridgewater (vocals); Antonio Hart, Jeff Clayton (alto saxophone); Bill Easley, Teodross Avery (tenor saxophone); Patience Higgins (baritone saxophone); Cecil Bridgewater, Byron Stripling, Ron Tooley, Virgil Jones, Diego Urcola (trumpet); Slide Hampton, Bob Trowers, Clarence Banks, Benny Powell (trombone); Doug Purviance (bass trombone); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Lou Levy (piano); Kenny Burrell (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Grady Tate, Andre Ceccarelli (drums).
Engineers: Leslie Anne Jones, Rob Eaton, Keith Grant.
Principally recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California and Right Track Recording Studios, New York, New York in January & February 1997. Includes liner notes by Dee Dee Bridgewater and Claude Carriere.
DEAR ELLA won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. "Cotton Tail" won and "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" was nominated for the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement With Accompanying Vocal(s).
Tributee: Ella Fitzgerald.
Liner Note Author: Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Recording information: Abbey Road Recording Studios, London (01/29/1997-01/30/1997); Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA (01/29/1997-01/30/1997); Right Track Recording Studios, New York (01/29/1997-01/30/1997); The Greek Studio, London (01/29/1997-01/30/1997); Abbey Road Recording Studios, London (02/01/1997-02/02/1997); Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA (02/01/1997-02/02/1997); Right Track Recording Studios, New York (02/01/1997-02/02/1997); The Greek Studio, London (02/01/1997-02/02/1997); Abbey Road Recording Studios, London (02/06/1997); Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA (02/06/1997); Right Track Recording Studios, New York (02/06/1997); The Greek Studio, London (02/06/1997); Abbey Road Recording Studios, London (02/18/1997-02/19/1997); Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA (02/18/1997-02/19/1997); Right Track Recording Studios, New York (02/18/1997-02/19/1997); The Greek Studio, London (02/18/1997-02/19/1997).
Photographer: Philippe Pierangeli.
Following her critically acclaimed tribute to legendary pianist/composer Horace Silver, Dee Dee Bridgewater tackles an even more daring project for a young jazz vocalist: a tribute to the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald. With help from prominent Fitzgerald side-men and some marvelously swinging arrangements by Cecil Bridgewater, Slide Hampton, and John Clayton, Bridgewater makes DEAR ELLA both a delightful tribute to a jazz icon and a testament to her own creative talents.
Choosing a repertoire of 12 tunes indelibly associated with Ella (plus the title-track written by guitarist Kenny Burrell) Bridgewater is able to retain the excitement and vitality of the originals, yet interpret them in ways unmistakably her own. The arrangements range from overt hat-tipping toward the well-known Fitzgerald recordings--though generally with some unexpected twists--to some dramatically different interpretations. Perhaps most remarkable, though, is Bridgewater's scat singing on these tunes. Any vocalist who attempts to scat in such Fitzgerald domain as "How High The Moon" and "Oh, Lady Be Good," has some big shoes to fill. Yet Bridgewater makes her way through these tunes in top Fitzgeraldesque form--quoting bebop melodies and all--without sounding for a moment like a clone of the maestra.