Vocalist Dianne Reeves is coming off back to back Grammys for two highly orchestrated efforts: the Sarah Vaughan tribute Calling
, and her live set In the Moment
. For A Little Moonlight
, she has stripped down this approach and used an intimate format to present captivating versions of jazz standards. A Little Moonlight
is Reeves plain and candid, highlighting her wide ranging voice in all its glory. Energizing as she scats and swings on the up tempo numbers, she then seductively melts you by plunging down low for deeply rich contraltic renderings.
Quite simply, the album is about the stages of love and its myriad moments. With a clean crisp production by high flyer Arif Mardin, Reeves uses her ample voice to impart the right coloration to each drama. After a scat intro that is perfectly offset by Reuben Rogers’ bass line, she demands her due with the in-your-face lyrics of Richard Rodgers’ “Loads of Love.” On Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You,” Reeves is entirely at home with Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, as he adds a mystical samba air to the uplifting power that thinking of your lover can afford. Lubambo and pianist Peter Martin aid in turning “Lullaby of Broadway” into a touching treatment, as Reeves slowly delivers a sweet folk serenade to love on the street of streets.
The warm sound of trumpeter Nicholas Payton softly duets with emotionally powerful lyrics to convey the complete infatuation of “You Go To My Head,” and “We’ll Be Together Again” deftly communicates the subtleties of a hoped for, but unlikely, reunification at the start of a lover’s extended parting. The phrasing of “Skylark,” combined with Martin’s piano, convincingly make a lonely desperate request of the high flying bird to search for love; and “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” is a scat duet with drummer Gregory Hutchinson that remains an upbeat paean to the intoxicating effects of lunar luminescence. This one is for lovers.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Personnel: Gregory Hutchinson - Drums;
Romero Lubambo - Guitar;
Nicholas Payton - Trumpet;
Dianne Reeves - Vocals;
Reuben Rogers - Bass;
Peter Martin - Piano.