It’s a ‘Beautiful Life’ for Dianne Reeves

By Branna Calloway

March 16, 2017

There surely is something about Detroit and its reliable ability to produce incredible musicians. From Aretha Franklin to Madonna to Stevie Wonder to The Romantics, the Motor City’s music roots run deep. Born in Detroit, and raised in Denver, that certainly holds true for the extraordinary talented Grammy award-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves who is coming to Charlotte on March 24.

Hailed as a successor to jazz-vocalists Dinah Washington and Carmen McRae, Reeves is known for her eclectic talent, which includes original, African-inspired folk music, world music and pop. Last year, her “virtuosity, improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B style” was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Juilliard School. But what else would you expect from someone with a singing father, trumpet playing mother, Denver Symphony Orchestra bassist Charles Burrell as an uncle and the late great George Duke as a cousin. Brilliance runs in Reeves’ blood and it’s been apparent for a very long time.

Dianne Reeves

She toured and recorded with her high school band and was noticed by trumpeter Clark Terry while still a student at the University of Colorado. Not to mention the simple fact that she got to tour with the legendary Mr. Harry Belafonte before she signed with Blue Note Records. Her success at Blue Note led to an appearance singing 1950s standards in George Clooney’s 2005 film, Good Night, and Good Luck. The soundtrack won a Grammy. Her other classic Grammy-winning albums include In the Moment – Live in Concert, The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan, and A Little Moonlight as well as her latest, Beautiful Life.

“When I began thinking about Beautiful Life and choosing the numbers to illustrate what makes a beautiful life, the idea was to turn it into more of a collaboration,” said Reeves in a Washington Times review. The album, which interprets 21st Century jazz by melding R&B, Latin and pop elements, harkens back to her jazz-fusion days as a member of the band Caldera and working with jazz pianist and composer Billy Childs. On it, Reeves shares the spotlight with the likes of Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper, Gregory Porter, Lalah Hathaway, Nadia Washington, and her final collaboration with her cousin, George Duke. “The young musicians involved are musically grounded in jazz, and it worked well. It’s always a joy to work with the best in the business.”

Dianne Reeves

Get ready to experience one of the best jazz singers in a generation and her Beautiful Life, Jazz FM Awards’ 2015 Album of the Year. Follow along to the sound of her exceptional interpretation of lyrics and skilled scatting inside Knight Theater. Listen closely to the freedom of emotion in Reeves’ range and you might experience a life a little more beautiful.

Catch Dianne Reeves in Charlotte on March 24 at Knight Theatre.

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