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Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo & Lizz Wright

Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo & Lizz Wright

Sing The Truth
@ the Barbican Centre
5 July 2011

Click an image to enlarge.

Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright perform together in a passionate new production honouring the great women of jazz, r&b, gospel and the blues.

Dianne Reeves biography

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.

Angelique Kidjo biography

Angelique Kidjo was born in Cotonou, Benin, July 14 1960. Her first performing experience was as a six year old actor-dancer in her mother’s theatre troupe. From that point on, music became her sole passion. As a teenager, Kidjo was inspired to write songs by the sounds of Hendrix, Santana, Miriam Makeba, Fela Kuti, James Brown, the Beatles and Aretha Franklin; before her twentieth birthday she was one of Benin’s few professional female vocalists.

Difficulties with the political environment in her homeland, prompted Kidjo to relocate to Paris. Thriving in the city’s African music underground, she progressed from singer of Jasper van’ hof ‘s fusion band Pili Pili, to leader of her own band within five years. Established as one of Paris’s top live acts, Kidjo was quickly discovered by Chris Blackwell and signed on Mango. Today, Angelique Kidjo is a bonafide global phenomenon whose performances are always legendary events.

Kidjo’s style of music varies from afro-funk, reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, Zairean rumba, souk and makossa which combined together creates her soulful unique sound of music.

As well as being a Goodwill Ambassador with Uniceff since 2002, Kidjo has worked with Oxfam for their Fair Trade Campaign and founded the Batonga Foundation which gives girls a secondary school and higher education so they can take the lead in changing Africa.

Lizz Wright biography

Lizz Wright hails from Hahira, South Georgia. Both her parents were ministers. Her father (a pastor) eventually formed his own church. Apart from his regular duties, he also contributed to the church musically by serving as pianist and musical director. He would encourage Lizz to absorb as much as the church could offer. As you may imagine, her childhood was definitely not ‘rule free’: no sports, no television, no pants, no designer pantyhose and no short hair!

Despite such a strict upbringing, Wright somehow managed to maintain an open mind. In high school she sang with the choir and won many competitions. She also attended Georgia State in Atlanta to study voice at professional level. Wright gained further experience performing at jazz nightclub Churchill Grounds. In 2000 Wright joined the much talked about In The Spirit jazz group. Two years later she signed with the Verve record label.

Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves & Angelique Kidjo

Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves & Angelique Kidjo Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves & Angelique Kidjo

Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo & Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves & Angelique Kidjo Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves & Angelique Kidjo

 

Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo & Lizz Wright

Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo & Lizz Wright

Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo & Lizz Wright

Dianne Reeves

Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo, Dianne reeves & Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright


Recommended
Listening

 

Dianne Reeves - A little Moonlight Dianne Reeves - Christmas Time Is Here Dianne Reeves - The Calling Dianne Reeves- Bridges
Dianne Reeves - Quiet After The Storm Dianne Reeves - Dianne Reeves Dianne Reeves - I Remember Dianne Reeves - In The Moment
Lizz Wright - The Fellowship Lizz Wright - The Orchard Lizz Wright - Dreaming Wide Awake Lizz Wright - Salt
Angelique Kidjo - Djin Djin Angelique Kidjo - lack Ivory Soul Angelique Kidjo - Logozo Angelique Kidjo - yaya!

 

Further
Recommended
Viewing

Click the images below to see more of Dianne Reeves...
Angelique Kidjo @ the Barbican in 2010...
Lizz Wright @ the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2005...

Dianne Reeves @ the Barbican & Brixton Academy (click to go to her page) Angelique Kidjo @ the Barbican in 2010 (click to go to her page) Lizz Wright @ the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2005 (click to go to her page)

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