Tuesday November 23, 2010
Dianne Reeves knows how to put on a show. She radiates warmth and positive energy, chats up the audience, inviting everybody to dance and sing along, and is equally adept with soft, sensitive solos or big-band production numbers. And she’s got a pretty good voice, too.
A shining voice and spirit. Actually, Reeves has an amazing voice. It’s mellowed a bit, a slightly darker timbre now than earlier in her career. But that’s only made it better, like fine wine come of age. It’s still remarkably pure and clear, polished and silk-smooth without being glossy. And supple. Like the best classical singers, Reeves can take her vocals from a gentle patter of raindrops to the big, dynamic sound needed to front an orchestra.
The program was a tribute to Sarah Vaughan, reprising many of the songs from Reeves’ 2001 release The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan. But with Latin flavors, fresh arrangements, a nod to Abbey Lincoln and two selections from Reeves’ newest release, When You Know, it had a smart contemporary feel. Reeves told some stories about the inspiration Vaughan provided early in her career, but you didn’t need to know anything about American jazz to appreciate the music, which stood quite well on its own.
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