Vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater's 2015 effort, Dee Dee's Feathers, is a vibrant jazz showcase that pays homage to the history of New Orleans and marks the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A collaboration between Bridgewater, New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), the album finds Bridgewater combining her love of New Orleans' musical past with the Crescent City's vibrant present. Recorded at Esplanade Studios, a historic 1920s church turned music studio in heart of the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans, Dee Dee's Feathers has a lush, organic sound. Bridgewater is backed here by Mayfield and his band, featuring guitarist/banjo player Don Vappie, drummer Adonis Rose, pianist Victor Atkins, and bassist Khari Allen Lee. Also featured on the album are several guests, including such New Orleans icons as keyboardist Dr. John and percussionist Bill Summers. These are warm, largely acoustic arrangements that breathe with the energy of a live performance. Cuts like the second-line, Mardi Gras-themed "Big Chief," and the similarly percussion-heavy title track sound pleasingly like in-studio jams. In contrast, standards like the romantic "What a Wonderful World" and the languid "Come Sunday," are lush, symphonic big-band productions that juxtapose Bridgewater's crackling, resonant voice against shimmering string and horn sections. Throughout all of Dee Dee's Feathers is Mayfield's burnished, puckered trumpet, adding a soulful counterpoint to Bridgewater's urbane vocals. Bridgewater has built a career out of combining her love of the tradition with her desire to push the boundaries of jazz style, and Dee Dee's Feathers is no exception.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar