DIANNE REEVES, BEAUTIFUL LIFE


Beautiful Life is an upscale entertainment that confidently establishes Dianne Reeves as an adult contemporary R&B singer of romantic ballads and mid-tempo love songs. Producer Terri Lynn Carrington surrounds Reeves with first-rate jazz and studio players and the recording sounds deep and lush. Obviously designed for maximum radio play, with arrangements that employ up-to-the-minute grooves and after-hours rhythm, Reeves gives Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” a quiet storm makeover, Ani DiFranco’s “32 Flavors” a funky, slam-dunk read and offers up a dazzling original, “Cold,” that features an irresistible chorus.

Reeves is indisputably one of the world’s great jazz singers, a splendid and charismatic entertainer with a luminous voice that evokes the likes of Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington. After many fine records for Blue Note, four Grammy Awards and a bravura turn in the George Clooney directed film Goodnight and Good Luck (her companion soundtrack album is among the best examples of her vocal mastery), Reeves waited five years until this superior effort that pairs her voice with all-star contributions from singer/composer and bassist Esperanza Spalding who accompanies Reeves on the uplifting “Wild Rose,” the in-demand jazz pianists Robert Glasper and Gerald Clayton, along with vocalist Gregory Porter who clicks with Reeves on a fine duet called “Satiated”. Drummer Terreon Gully supplies notably tight beats. And in a bittersweet turn, Reeves cousin, the late George Duke takes a final bow with a synth solo on “Feels So Good (Lifted).”

Some may find Reeves’ typical exuberance curbed somewhat on Beautiful Life. She’s celebrated for scatting and voice effects in concert and record, but apart from the improvised coda on Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” and the wordless boffo original called “Tango,” Reeves plays it mostly cool. Producer Carrington is gifted in so many ways and she treats Reeves with the respect she deserves. Life remains a success and is destined to reach many new listeners not familiar with her greatness.  Regardless, Beautiful Life flows easily between jazz and soul and this album is nothing less than a gift from Reeves to her fans. (12 tracks; 69 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: DIANNE REEVES, BEAUTIFUL LIFE

Saturday, February 1, 2014

DIANNE REEVES, BEAUTIFUL LIFE


Beautiful Life is an upscale entertainment that confidently establishes Dianne Reeves as an adult contemporary R&B singer of romantic ballads and mid-tempo love songs. Producer Terri Lynn Carrington surrounds Reeves with first-rate jazz and studio players and the recording sounds deep and lush. Obviously designed for maximum radio play, with arrangements that employ up-to-the-minute grooves and after-hours rhythm, Reeves gives Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” a quiet storm makeover, Ani DiFranco’s “32 Flavors” a funky, slam-dunk read and offers up a dazzling original, “Cold,” that features an irresistible chorus.

Reeves is indisputably one of the world’s great jazz singers, a splendid and charismatic entertainer with a luminous voice that evokes the likes of Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington. After many fine records for Blue Note, four Grammy Awards and a bravura turn in the George Clooney directed film Goodnight and Good Luck (her companion soundtrack album is among the best examples of her vocal mastery), Reeves waited five years until this superior effort that pairs her voice with all-star contributions from singer/composer and bassist Esperanza Spalding who accompanies Reeves on the uplifting “Wild Rose,” the in-demand jazz pianists Robert Glasper and Gerald Clayton, along with vocalist Gregory Porter who clicks with Reeves on a fine duet called “Satiated”. Drummer Terreon Gully supplies notably tight beats. And in a bittersweet turn, Reeves cousin, the late George Duke takes a final bow with a synth solo on “Feels So Good (Lifted).”

Some may find Reeves’ typical exuberance curbed somewhat on Beautiful Life. She’s celebrated for scatting and voice effects in concert and record, but apart from the improvised coda on Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” and the wordless boffo original called “Tango,” Reeves plays it mostly cool. Producer Carrington is gifted in so many ways and she treats Reeves with the respect she deserves. Life remains a success and is destined to reach many new listeners not familiar with her greatness.  Regardless, Beautiful Life flows easily between jazz and soul and this album is nothing less than a gift from Reeves to her fans. (12 tracks; 69 minutes)

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