Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Live at Yoshi's [Verve, 1999]
After fruitlessly sampling whatever Bridgewater albums came my way for 25 years, I harbored few hopes that this one would escape decorum, delusions of grandeur, and/or commercial confusion just because it was live. But it does, and then it keeps on going. It's funny, it's sexy, it swings like crazy. Long workouts on "Slow Boat to China" and "Love for Sale" show off her fabled chops without dwelling on them. The many extended scats are worthy of Ella herself. Even the gaffe proves her heart is in the right place when she's out there working the crowd--James Brown's "Sex Machine." A-