Multi-Grammy Award winners Dee Dee Bridgewater and Irvin Mayfield take the Holland stage joined by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to celebrate that city’s re-birth. The impetus is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s transformation of the Crescent City. The artists seek to call attention to the specialness of the place in what advance publicity calls “a sensory trip.” Big Easy-born 39-year old trumpet player Mayfield states “This music is a testament to the continued relevance of New Orleans…a muse for communicating truth, love and beauty.” He adds that Dee Dee’s performances prove “the city can make your heart and soul feel better.”

Six years ago Bridgewater conveyed different heart and soul right here in this river city with a live performance of “To Billie with Love: A Celebration of Lady Day” garnering a Grammy for the CD version in 2011.

Tributes are her thing. Another Grammy was won for 1997’s “Dear Ella.” In earlier days she vocalized with Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band. No surprise, then, that she’s out front with another big aggregation, the 16-piece New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, going strong for 14 years since Mayfield founded it, as he points out “preserving and evolving the cultural and historical legacy of New Orleans Jazz.”  

Mayfield and the Orchestra got a 2009 Grammy for their “Book One.” That same year he was appointed to the National Endowment of the Arts by President Obama and is Artistic Director of jazz at the Minnesota Orchestra and the New Orleans Jazz Institute plus being a professor at the University of New Orleans.

The Orchestra symbolically reopened the city to its artistic life in November 2005 with a new piece by Mayfield commissioned by and performed at Christ Church Cathedral, evidently one of the first major cultural events a few months after Katrina

This event follows up on that one.  It’s Bridgewater’s idea. She approached Mayfield about collaborating on both a concert and a recording. “Dee Dee’s Feathers,” was produced in a studio of a reconverted historical church, part of the city damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The launch of the CD and tour coincided with the opening of the Jazz Market in 2015, the 10th anniversary of Katrina’s arrival.  

Omaha Performing Arts’ Jazz series brings this alive. What better way to celebrate the roots of our music, of our culture and of re-birth?

The concert is Mar.12 at Kiewit Concert Hall, Holland Performing Arts Center, 12th and Douglas streets, Sat. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20-$45.  

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