Dianne Reeves: Songs of Love

| April 28, 2016

Dianne Reeves

Songs of Love

SFJAZZ, San Francisco, CA, February 11, 2016

Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes

Dianne-Reeves-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Just another normal year for the great Dianne Reeves: another Grammy (her fifth); and an honorary doctorate from Juilliard. There’s never been a more deserving artist in my humble opinion. Her stellar compatriots—Peter Martin on piano, Romero Lubambo on guitars, Reggie Veal on bass and Terreon Gully on drums—opened the first of four sold-out shows with an overture featuring Gershwin’s “Summertime.”  This band can cook— and adding Reeves unmistakable vocal instrument makes them one of the finest units playing today.

Reeves takes the stage and re-invents Fleetwood Mac’s hit “Dreams” (Stevie Nicks). You’d think the song was written for her as she takes the song on a jazz excursion that flies and soars like, well, a dream.  Her own original, “Nine,” a song of innocence, has a samba rhythm influenced by Afro-Cuban Brazilian sounds.

Accompanied by Martin and Lubambo on acoustic guitar, Reeves softly delivers the ballad “I’m in Love Again” (April Geesbreght/Jesse Lee) and honors her idol Sarah Vaughan with a stunning rendition of “Misty.” Reeves says Vaughan opened a door of possibilities for her and one can easily see how she has used the legend’s work  as a stepping stone for her own remarkable career. Reeves is the master of scat and uses her dexterity and quick wit to sing about her early career milestones on another of her originals, “Tango” from her Beautiful Life CD.

Reeves allows the band to flourish and immerses herself into their fabric and flow like a fifth instrument. The set-closer of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain” is another example of her unique skill of transforming other genres of music into her idiosyncratic jazz styling. She maintains the original melody, adds her brilliant scat and combines elements of bossa, reggae and samba into her jazz framework. Very few people use their voice to the extent that Reeves can with impeccable phrasing, harmony and instinctual skills. The result is magic.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Regional, San Francisco, San Francisco Cabaret Reviews

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