Bridgewater lives by the edict that “music brings joy.” She was recently playing at The Blue Note in New York and noticed most of her audience were young people. “They were just ecstatic to hear live music,” she said. She also recalled the effect of music on her mother, who had dementia in her later years, and how music would pull her into the present and back in contact. Bridgewater believes that music heals. She says, “if I’m looking young it’s the music, the music that keeps me buoyed.”
Working with younger musicians also brings Bridgewater great joy. Joining her for her concert in Atlanta are Edsel Gomez on piano, Tabari Lake on bass and Tyson Jackson on drums. She founded the Woodshed Project to mentor young women musicians in jazz. One of her other men-tees, trumpet player Theo Croker, has gone on to win a Grammy nomination for his work, something that delights Bridgewater.
Asked why she chose to be a singer, Bridgewater says her father, who was also a musician, told her “girls don’t play instruments, girls sing” and told her to use her voice as an instrument. She says she never thought of his advice as restriction, but rather encouragement.
The encouragement lead to two Grammy Awards (both for tributes to Ella Fitzgerald) and won a Tony Award in 1975 for playing Glinda in “The Wiz” on Broadway.
For tickets and more information, visit rialto.gsu.edu.