Dee Dee Bridgewater & Irvin Mayfield: Yuletide Jazz

"Yuletide sizzle and jazz chestnuts" are promised for this summit featuring superbly adventurous jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, a small jazz combo, and the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Sarah Hicks. What that's likely to translate into is an array of holiday fare with creative twists seeping up from downriver and myriad other musical outposts, plus maybe some similarly spiced jazz standards. Eminently able to sparkle through it all is Bridgewater (pictured), one of the finest scat singers this side of Ella, whose distinguished 40-year career has included dynamic tributes to Fitzgerald, Horace Silver, Kurt Weill, and now Billie Holiday on this year's Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee. Her previous album, Red Earth, was a remarkable fusion of American jazz and blues with Malian traditional music. Fagan (Holiday's given name) features strikingly contemporary arrangements (by pianist Edsel Gomez) of Holiday classics that Bridgewater infuses with Billie's spirit and her own unique artistry. The holly and ivy holiday due to get the most attention in this program should fare just as well. The New Orleans-oriented combo will include pianist Ronald Markham, bassist Neal Caine, and drummer Jaz Sawyer. (Photo by Mark Higashino)
Fri., Dec. 17, 8 p.m., 2010

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