The Memphis-born singer, based in France since the '80s, reaffirms her rep as a true inheritor of the tradition defined by such fallen idols as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae and Betty Carter.
Buoyed by the intuitive support of pianist-organist Thierry Eliez, drummer Ali Jackson and bassist Thomas Bramerie, Bridgewater sings/scats like she's on a mission on "Slow Boat to China," "Stairway to the Stars," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Midnight Sun" and a sprinting "Cherokee."
Her personable stage chatter, sultry bilingual come-ons and riffs borrowed from Herbie Hancock tunes "Chameleon" and "Watermelon Man" color a 14-minute version of "Love for Sale." She toasts Soul Brother No. 1 with an exuberant, if brief, work-out on "Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine." It's a bracing sonic postcard from a three-day 1988 stint at the noted northern California jazz spot.