@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia
8 May 2008
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Blue Note recording artist Dianne Reeves is renown
for her improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B styling,
Reeves was awarded the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for
three consecutive recordings—a Grammy first in any vocal category.
Dianne Reeves was born in Detroit, Michigan 1956.
She grew up in Colorado and attended the University of Colorado
in the mid 70’s. Trumpeter Clark Terry invited Reeves to perform
in his band after spotting her singing at a National Association
of Jazz Educators convention. Reeves would continue to perform in
Clark’s band for several years while continuing her education
at the University of Colorado. After completing her studies she
relocated to Los Angeles to concentrate on her career. She worked
as a studio artist, recording with Lenny White, Stanley Turrentine,
and Alphonos Johnson. She also began working with Billy Childs,
developing a musical relationship that would continue for a decade.
In the late Seventies Reeves performed with the group Night Flight.
In 1981 Reeves auditioned for and won a spot with
Sergio Mendes' world tour group. A year later she recorded her debut
album “Welcome to My Love” (produced with Billy Childs).
Welcome to My Love included many of Reeves’ own compositions
including “Better Days”," which entered the jazz
In the mid 1980’s Reeves began working with
Harry Belafonte. Though she had already honed her jazz pop fusion
styling, her performances with Belafonte would encourage her to
expand her musical repertoire. She has credited Belafonte for her
introduction to the rhythms of West Africa and the West Indies.
Reeves continued this exploration by experimenting with music from
Brazil and Cuba, as well as venturing into the rhythms of early
African-American folk music such as field hollers and slave songs.
In 1986 Reeves formed a trio with Billy Childs.
They would perform at clubs and venues throughout the United States.
It would take just a year, and a Grammy-nominated performance at
the “Echoes of Ellington” concert for Reeves to be signed
to the renowned Blue Note Label. Her much celebrated self titled
1987 album would include personnel such as George Duke, Herbie Hancock,
Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Paulinho da Costa and Stanley Clarke.
Reeves added R&B component to her next album
“Never Too Far” (1989) led her to an even wider audience,
but jazz purists were beginning to question her choice of material
and direction. In 1991, “I Remember” was released to
rave reviews from her newfound fans and Jazz purists alike.
Reeves appeared and performed in George Clooney’s
Academy Award nominated film “Good Night, and Good Luck”.
The soundtrack recording of “Good Night, and Good Luck”
provided Reeves her fourth Best Jazz Vocal Grammy in 2006. In 2007
Reeves was featured in a documentary on the life of Billy Strayhorn.
Further Reeves releases would raise questions
as well as acclaim, but there is no doubt that Reeves’ popularity
continues to grow across the globe. Reeves has firmly established
herself as a versatile reliable performer who not only produces
consistent explorative quality recordings, she also continues to
surprise and shine in a live environment.