2/16/2009

Dianne Reeves: A Voice of Excellence

On the evening of Valentine's Day, 2009, my wife and I treated ourselves to a concert by Dianne Reeves, who appeared with the Oregon Symphony at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. Her performance was one of the highlights of the Portland Jazz Festival, and paid special tribute to the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records.

Dianne Reeves began singing when she was young, and displayed a wealth of strong ability from the start. She was encouraged in her musical ambition by Clark Terry, one of the great figures of jazz, and later worked with Sergio Mendes and Harry Belafonte. She began recording for Blue Note Records in 1987, and since then has released a number of praiseworthy albums that have established her as one of the most talented singers of our time.

During her performance in Portland, Miss Reeves, a personable singer who follows in the sophisticated tradition of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington, offered a varied collection of well-chosen standards, including "Speak Low," "Lullaby of Birdland," "Fascinating Rhythm," and "Embraceable You." Each song allowed Miss Reeves to showcase the impressive qualities of her supple voice, which she skillfully used as a means of deep expression, conveying a range of moods and feelings. At the end of the evening she performed an encore while standing in bare feet, after sheepishly explaining to the audience that her new shoes had proven to be uncomfortable.

In addition to the Oregon Symphony, under the careful and sensitive direction of Gregory Vajda, Miss Reeves was ably supported by her own trio: Peter Martin on piano, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Kendrick Scott on drums. Dianne Reeves is, unreservedly and unquestionably, a voice of excellence in the world of jazz.