Dianne Reeves: Consummate Vocal Artist

Last evening at the sumptuous Strathmore Music Center in suburban DC a robust audience was treated to an intimate and surpassing performance from Dianne Reeves, one of the consummate vocal artists of our time. Years from now I have little doubt that Dianne Reeves will be judged in the royal pantheon of vocal stylists in the art of the improvisers that includes Billie, Ella, Sarah, Carmen, Betty and the masters of the form. Reeves’ artistry continues its upward evolution on the wings of her marvelous ability to tell a story, converse successfully with her band — which in actuality is more of a family at this point, with Peter Martin on piano, Romero Lubambo on guitar, drummer Terreon Gully, and the bassist Reginald Veal (once again proving the essential nature of the singer’s connection to an adept and sensitive bassist that Billie and Ella used to extol) — and truly connect with an audience.

When those skills are coupled with a gorgeous, supple vocal instrument at once able to comfortably leap tall intervals and plumb the depths of her lower register, you have a woman who is truly one of the great singers of our time. The icing on the cake is her carefully plotted repertoire and pacing, where she can go from “The Twelfth of Never” to a down-home blues duet with Veal’s wickedly plucked bass to Jobim’s “Once I Loved” to her inimitable stories of family, home and growing up amidst the childhood innocence of her age. At this point it just doesn’t get any better than Dianne Reeves, just ask the legions who went home from Strathmore thoroughly thrilled that they’d made the right Valentine’s Day choice for a warm evening with their loved one.

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2 Responses to Dianne Reeves: Consummate Vocal Artist

  1. Excuse me? I witnessed the best Dianne Reeves concert at Jazz At Lincoln Center in Rose Hall this past Saturday. Being in that room with Dianne made you feel like you were sitting in a small intimate high class cocktail lounge where she had travelled to perform for only you. Her performance was phenomenal. She never ceases to amaze me with her depth and soulfull sophistication at the same time directing her attention to the audience and playing in the sand with her friends on stage. She is a sophisticated sister, if you know what I’m talking about. Everyone left Rose Hall feeling like they know Dianne. It is amazing. She is always the same humble, jolly, inspiring and inspired, warm individual.

    I must also boast about Reginald Veal, my home boy and adopted cousin. New Orleanians claim Peter Martin, as well. Peter lived in New Orleans for a time. Dianne likes New Orleans piano player. David Torkanowsky is a former accompanist. Terreon and Romero were fantastic. …But you guys know how New Orleanians feel about their home grown musicians and kinfolks.

    In closing, seeing Dianne Saturday, took me back to older days when Bill Cope was alive. As I mentioned to Dianne, I know he would have been extremely proud of her accomplishments. To Bill: “Dianne is really doing it, Cope. Continue to send those good heavenly vibrations cause your sister “got it going on.” If you readers are not familiar with that saying, it’s a New Orleans thing.

    Jackie Harris
    New Orleans, LA

  2. We’re definitely on the same page Sister Jackie!

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