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Dianne Reeves was simply terrific

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Monday June 06, 2011

From The Charleston City Paper
Less Is More
By: Joy Vandervort-Cobb

I told you, Charleston. The place to be last night was the Gaillard Auditorium where Dianne Reeves and her boys, guitarists Romero Lubambo and Russell Malone, made it hotter inside than out. I strolled around the lobby, eavesdropping on conversations as I took in the large, mixed crowd. There were young and old, black and white, artists and musicians and vocalists and those of us who just dig vocal jazz. And bless us she did, even invoking a moment before her final bow to wish us all “peace and light” as she left the stage, guitarists in tow.

A very simple set met the sell-out audience at the Gaillard. There were three stools, two amps, two guitars on stands, and a small table center stage covered in black cloth, holding two water glasses and a vase of flowers in a small pool of light. The backdrop was a curtain that played light very well, shimmering upstage of the action with a break-up pattern (a gobo, for those of you in the know) to give some added visual interest in case the music wasn’t enough. It was. It was more than enough.

Ms. Reeves was in good voice, running up and down the scale from the attic to the basement from the center stool, a place she called “a sweet seat.” She was talking about sitting between her two extraordinary musicians. “The first time I played with these two five years ago,” she said between songs, “I thought to myself, ‘Oh, no. What is this gonna be? I was so used to singing with my band or having an orchestra — something more.’ Well,” she said grinning, “less is really more.” And for two solid hours, Reeves proved that adage true.

If you haven’t heard her 2008 album, When You Know, and you missed this opportunity to hear her with Malone and Lubambo as they made two guitars sound like a whole lot more, take a listen. When You Know’s “Social Call was the third song of the evening and it was simply outstanding. Reeves’ voice peaked and plummeted, rolling soprano to alto with ease.

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