Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dee Dee Bridgewater [1976]

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Dee Dee Bridgewater's final Elektra effort represents her most concentrated attempt at a crossover hit. A collaboration with Philly soul architect Thom Bell, this self-titled set bears all the hallmarks of the post-disco Philadelphia International sound, couching Bridgewater's potent vocals in a series of lush, sophisticated settings. The record's far from unlistenable, but Bridgewater never seems comfortable in this slick, pop-oriented context. A handful of jazzy ballads allow her to stretch out, but the more up-tempo numbers feel strained, and cuts like "Lonely Disco Dancer" have aged no better than such a title would suggest.

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