Back to January 2012 Jazz Show

Aaron Bridgers
Jazz Pianist

January 10, 1918 -- November 3, 2003
Click for Obituary & Short Bio

Aaron Bridgers met Billy Strayhorn in 1939 and they were lovers until Bridgers
moved to Paris in 1948, for his first professional engagement. It's been widely
reported that it was Duke Ellington's son, Mercer, who introduced them, as he felt
Billy needed someone. Bridgers became a French citizen in 1974, and remained
in France the rest of his life. Strayhorn visited him often when in Paris. In 1961 he
appeared in the movie "Paris Blues."

"Music for Dreaming," by Aaron Bridgers, 1950

The LP had no "cover," just a cardboard sleeve with an opening showing the label
Side A was of all Gershwin songs, and Side B split between Duke Ellington,
Billy Strayhorn and Jimmy Davis. I think it's interesting that for jazz recordings,
these songs are all rather short.

Side A
1. Summertime (3:23)
2. It Ain't Necessarily So (2:50)
3. Bess You Is My Woman Now (3:58)
4. I've Got Plenty O' Nuttin' (2:45)
5. I Loves You Porgy (3:54)
6. My Man's Gone Now (3:13)
7. The Man I Love (3:49)
8. Somebody Loves Me (2:10)

Side B
1. Caravane (3:45)
2. In a Sentimental Mood (3:53)
3. Black Butterfly (3:09)
4. Lush Life (4:03)
5. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing (2:43)
6. L'amour Est Venu Sous Mon Toit (3:00)
7. Loverman (3:47)
8. Perdido (3:13)

Below, two photos from "Lushlife," the excellent
1997 biography of Billy Strayhorn, by David Hajdu

Below, one of the few recordings featuring Bridgers backing up
other artists, in this case Jimmy "Loverman" Davis, who co-wrote
the standard, "Loverman"

Or, on a different label...

Below, 1999 French recording of the Tissendier Septet, with guest musicians,
including Bridgers, who contributed one track, "Phil," which I've read
was dedicated to Billy Strayhorn


Bridgers appeared in the 1961 film "Paris Blues," of which parts
were shot in Paris. He is tenth in the credits, and did not have any lines or
a character name, just listed as "Pianist." Surprisingly, the complete film
is on Youtube. Bridgers first appears at the 00:37 mark. His scenes
were so brief that I pretty much captured them below. He only
appears once outside of the club where the Newman character plays.

Great shot with the film stars Newman and Portier