A superb interpreter of lyrics and a skilled scat singer, Reeves’s delivery is intensely soulful and full of finesse. Her uncanny range from a smoky contra-alto to a soaring soprano can cast a spell on ballads and invigorate on uptempo romps. Expect her to do both in her return to Exit Zero Jazz while also blurring the line that separates jazz from pop and contemporary R&B. “There’s always a sense of freedom and playfulness onstage,” noted London Jazz News about a recent risk-taking Reeves performance at Wigmore Hall. “And like Gregory Porter, she has a preacher’s skill in stirring up the audience.” Whether she’s swinging, summoning up a wealth of emotion on a sensitive ballad, dealing in sophisticated R&B or incorporating the sounds of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Reeves’ proves that she has few vocal rivals on the current jazz scene.
When & Where
Music Connects Stage Powered By Atlantic City Electric in Schmidtchen Theater, Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM.
Following in the lineage of such great jazz singers as Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae, Dianne Reeves has been the voice of her generation since the late ’80s. A 2018 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters award, Reeves makes her second (2013) Exit Zero Jazz Festival appearance this November.
A Detroit native, Reeves was raised in Denver, later attending the University of Colorado. She credits trumpeter Clark Terry, who invited her to sit in with his band when she was still in high school, as being a major mentor. As she told Jazz Times magazine: “It was through Clark that I learned my instrument was one thing, but my voice was my soul.” In 1976, Reeves moved to Los Angeles, where she sang with tenor sax great Stanley Turrentine, drummer Lenny White and later toured with the jazz fusion group Caldera (she appears on their 1977 album Sky Islands). After working with Sergio Mendes in 1981, she moved to New York City and toured with Harry Belafonte from 1983 to 1986. Reeves signed as a solo artist with Blue Note Records in 1987 and remained with the label until 2009, releasing such acclaimed albums during that period as 1992’s I Remember, 1994’s Quiet After the Storm, 1996’s The Grand Encounter, 2001’s The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan and her Grammy-winning 2003 standards album, A Little Moonlight. Her Grammy-winning 2014 album on Concord, Beautiful Life, featured an all-star cast including Esperanza Spalding, Sheila E, Robert Glasper, and her cousin George Duke (who passed away shortly after the album was completed). The following year, Reeves received an honorary doctorate from The Juilliard School. “This music has always nourished my soul; it gave me a connection to endless possibilities,” she has said. “When music first called to me, and I said ‘yes,’ the most incredible things started to happen. And the most incredible people started to show up.”
Schmidtchen Theater Music Connects Stage Powered by Atlantic City Electric November 10th at 7:00 PM