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Regardless of genre, Dianne Reeves occupies her songs

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Wednesday October 15, 2014

From The Boston Globe

Regardless of genre, Reeves occupies her songs
By: Jeremy D. Goodwin

It was worthy of a festival-closing performance. When Dianne Reeves played the last set of the Tanglewood Jazz Festival in 2011 — in tandem with Angélique Kidjo and Lizz Wright, under the banner of the all-star Sing the Truth ensemble — a highlight was her electric performance of Ani DiFranco’s “32 Flavors.”

Whipping the crowd at the Seiji Ozawa Hall into a frenzy, it was funky, sultry, energized: many things at once, just as its lyrics (“I am 32 flavors and then some”) promise. As things stand, that was the last-ever performance at the festival, which was discontinued after that year. It almost feels like Reeves’s act was just too tough to follow.

The DiFranco song is an apt anthem for the singer, who included a version of it on her album “Beautiful Life,” released in February and her first in five years. She’s long established as a standard bearer among jazz vocalists of her generation, but is quick to explore textures from all over the musical spectrum.

“I’m kind of like a chameleon,” Reeves, 57, says on the phone from her home in Denver. “I’ve always taken the music that has surrounded me — the ideas, the life — and interpreted it in a jazz kind of way.”

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