They got an earful, but it wasn’t what they expected. Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, headlining Friday night’s Miami Nice Jazz Festival at the Gusman Center, told astonished fans, including Miami’s mayor, that she would not perform because the promoters hadn’t been paid in accordance with her contract.
“My contract was signed months ago, but it has not been respected,” said the 62-year-old performer, a three-time Grammy winner.
Then she walked off stage.
It was an ignominious end to a night of musical entertainment highlighting cultural ties between Miami and its sister city in France.
According to Philippe Pautesta-Herder, the Miami-based producer of the festival, the singer took a hike after receiving a check when her contract called for cash or a certified check.
“She made the entire festival look bad,’’ Pautesta-Herder said.
In a brief Twitter exchange with The Miami Herald, Bridgewater blamed “promoter non-compliance with contractual terms.”
Bridgewater, also a Tony award winner, is considered the “godmother,” of the festival, which has been taking place in France since 1948. It came to Miami for the first time this year, part of the sister-city relationship between Miami and Nice.
Bridgewater had played without incident at the French festival in the past. She was scheduled to appear on the Gusman’s Olympia Theater’s stage at 10 p.m.
Organizers had already wired her half of her $17,000 fee, Pautesta-Herder said. About 30 minutes before she was scheduled to take the stage in front of a crowd of about 300, organizers handed Bridgewater a check for the remainder. But her contract called for the check to be certified.
“She gave us hell,’’ Pautesta-Herder said.
For the next 30 minutes, organizers frantically tried to assure Bridgewater…
Read more: Miami Herald