@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
4 July 2015
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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 charts.
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.