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Deedee Bridgewater

Rhodes College and Levitt Shell Partnership

For the past six years, the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College and The Levitt Shell have worked as community partners to provide access and educational opportunities for the Memphis community through music. Building on the strengths of each organization, the partnership has resulted in a variety of concerts and community events that have explored the breadth of Memphis music both past and present. Artists who have visited Memphis as a result of this partnership include Grammy award winners and NEA recognized artists such as Rosanne Cash, George Coleman, and Charles Lloyd, as well as important local musicians. The partnership has also given students from Rhodes College, the STAX Academy, and Shelby County Schools performing opportunities and access to professional artists. In addition, important community events and archival opportunities have been created through this partnership supporting the Benjamin Hooks Public Library, the Manassas High School alumni association, and area musicians whose stories have been underrepresented in the narrative of Memphis music.

This year, the partnership continues with an appearance by Dee Dee Bridgewater and her return home to Memphis. Bridgewater, a three-time Grammy Winner, TONY Award Winner, and 2017 NEA Jazz Master, is among the most accomplished jazz performers in the world. Bridgewater was born in Memphis, where her father, Matthew Garrett, was the band director at Manassas High School in the 1950s during the time when George Coleman, Charles Lloyd, Hank Crawford, Harold Mabern, Frank Strozier were students. Her recent album Memphis (recorded at the legendary Royal Studio) signals a return by Bridgewater to her roots and her hometown, and explores the influence the city had on her during her early years.

The Mike Curb Institute at Rhodes and the Levitt Shell are thrilled to present this concert for the Memphis community, and to host a series of community discussions and interactions with students in conjunction with her appearance in Memphis.

Past Series Highlights:

  1. Six concerts at the Levitt Shell, including Rosanne Cash, Charles Lloyd, George Coleman

  2. Over 20,000 attendees at these concerts

  3. Numerous clinics, discussions, and oral history projects connected to these concerts for area students, as well as performing opportunities for over 30 local professional musicians

  4. Rhodes Office of Alumni Relations has hosted receptions in conjunction with Family Weekend

  5. Community partners engaged through this partnership have included:

    1. Levitt Shell

    2. STAX Music Academy

    3. Shelby County Schools

    4. Benjamin Hooks Public Library

    5. Manassas High School Alumni Association

Sponsored By:

Earlier Event: September 22
Memphis Renaissance: Going On From Here
Later Event: September 24
Dirty Dozen Brass Band