Dee Dee Bridgewater: J’ai Deux Amours

How do you craft an authentically French collection of jazz-tinged pop standards yet ensure it’s palatable for English-speaking listeners? Follow Dee Dee Bridgewater’s blueprint.

Yes, the majority of this cunning paean to Bridgewater’s momentous affection for France, Frenchmen and generally all things Gallic is sung en Francais, with an occasional English verse thrown in for good measure. And yes, all but one (the title track, made famous by Josephine Baker as she enthused of her “two loves-my country and Paris”) of the 11 songs included here were originally composed in French. But the majority, once translated, were massive hits in English, extending from that oddly indefatigable homage to blindly justified victimization “Mon Homme” (“My Man”) to the bittersweetly reflective reverie of “Les Feuilles Mortes” (“Autumn Leaves”) and gentle waves of longing that shape “La Mer” (made significantly choppier by Bobby Darin as “Beyond the Sea”). And Bobby Troup’s “Girl Talk,” the album’s only exercise in reverse translation, sounds a whole lot less sexist when reinvented as “Dansez Sur Moi.”

It does, of course, help that Bridgewater, who with each passing album more firmly cements her hereditary right to Sarah Vaughan’s throne, remains as eminently stylish and elegant as any Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore couturier.