Over the course of a multi-faceted career that has spanned four decades, Dee Dee Bridgewater has put her own unique spin on standards as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-inventing jazz classics. For her latest recording, Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater, the singer honors iconic jazz figure Billie Holiday. Bridgewater performed the role of Holiday in a theatrical production staged in Paris and London in the mid-'80s. More than being a tribute album of retreaded Holiday tunes, Bridgewater says, "Billie deserves to have her music heard in another light, and I didn't set out to imitate her." Key to the fresh approach is pianist Edsel Gomez, who wrote new arrangements for the twelve songs on the disc.
Guitarist Paul Meyers has performed or recorded with a host of jazz greats in his career to date, including Ron Carter, Mel Lewis, Kenny Werner, and Kenny Barron. James Gavin of the New York Times calls Meyers, "one of the most eloquent jazz guitarists since Kenny Burrell." Of his new CD, Paul Meyers Quartet featuring Frank Wess, guitarist Rodney Jones says, "In an era of over-processed and over-thought music, Paul Meyers has produced a beautiful CD of music from the heart. In combination with jazz legend Frank Wess, Paul brings forth a genuine work of art and musical magic."
Also new, reed man Ken Peplowski weaves through beautifully arranged and seldom heard tunes by Ellington, Strayhorn, and Berlin, and originals by himself and band mates Shelly Berg and Joe La Barbera on Noir Blue; flutist Mark Weinstein brings together the best of the new generation of Cuban jazz musicians in a feast of rhythms and virtuosity on Timbasa; and Jay D'Amico's Nocturne: Jazz Under Glass represents the pianist's latest effort at composing and interpreting his own music.