We are very lucky in Indianapolis to have a music venue simply called The Cabaret. In a just-the-right-size setting we are able to witness the magic of live shows from the world of jazz or the Broadway stage.
In August 2016 the jazz legend Dee Dee Bridgewater took to The Cabaret stage in a whirlwind of a show. She took us on a trip one Friday evening from the tender emotion of “What A Wonderful World” through a few hilariously heated moments in the bedroom with “Whoopin’ Blues” that even seemed to surprise members of her band. The latter was recorded as a duet on an album, but that particular evening was all Ms. Bridgewater…….and a story which referenced a stick of butter. For that part, you needed to be there.
I was captivated by her performance that evening. She owned the stage and was in full control of the show, but never wavered from being a lady. A number of times she allowed a member of the band to shine center stage during a solo as she floated off to the side. Those breaks also allowed a moment to cool off using an ornately decorated hand fan. Ms. Bridgewater gave us every last ounce of her talent and ability, which made that little fan as necessary as any instrument on the stage.
Watching a jazz legend in an intimate concert space creates a memorable experience. When that legendary talent comes from a woman who obviously is enjoying herself while retaining the humility to appreciate her fellow musicians as well as her audience, it is truly inspiring. I distinctly remember trying to shield the light from my phone using the billowing tablecloth as I texted the first line of this poem to myself during the show. Thank you, Ms. Bridgewater, for the performance and for the inspiration.