"Bye Bye Blackbird" studio live in Japan. Dee Dee Bridgewater is a three-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, as well as a Tony Award - winning stage actress and host of National Public Radio's syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater. She is a United Nations Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization.
During the 1950s Thad Jones emerged from the postwar Detroit jazz scene to become an exemplary trumpeter, cornetist, composer, and arranger. A member of a musical family, he shared fame with his older brother Hank, a pianist, and his younger brother, Elvin, who helped to redefine the art of jazz drumming. As Ira Gitler noted in the liner notes to Elvin!, "Of all the talented families in jazz, I don’t think there any who surpass the three Jones boys." While his brothers earned worldwide recognition, Jones continued on his own creative path as cornetist and arranger with the Count Basie Band and as a co-founder of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. "Thad is a man of purpose," wrote Raymond Horricks, in Count Basie and His Orchestra, "a deep thinker and idealist in his music almost to the point of aestheticism… He abhors flashy, gallery-fetching tactics in music, believing that if a musician doesn’t set out to be creative then there is no point in his playing at all." For nearly half a century, Jones carried forth his creative vision, leaving behind a wealth of compositions, arrangements, and recordings that continued to be studied and performed throughout the world.
Mel Lewis's cymbal work was considered unique among many musicians. Of his style, drummer Buddy Rich had remarked that "Mel Lewis doesn't sound like anybody except himself". Lewis insisted on playing genuine Turkish-made cymbals, switching from the Zildjian brand later in his career to the Istanbul brand. His setup included a 21-inch ride on his right, an 19-inch crash-ride on his left, and his signature sound, a 22-inch swish "knocker" with rivets on his far right. The rather lightweight cymbals exuded a dark, overtone-rich sound. Lewis' wood-shell drums were considered warm and rich in their sound. He almost exclusively played Gretsch drums, although in later years, played Slingerland drums equipped with natural calfskin top heads. Regular mylar heads were used on the bottom. Lewis described a playing philosophy of not "pushing or pulling" but "supporting". "If you watch me, it doesn't look like I'm doing much" he remarked in an interview.