3

Dianne Reeves Quartet: Philadelphia, PA, December 1, 2012

Lewis J Whittington By

Sign in to view read count
Dianne Reeves Quartet
Annenberg Center
Philadelphia, PA
December 1, 2012

Even though jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves grew up in Denver, judging by the reception she gets in Philly it could easily be her adopted hometown crowd. Reeves was back for a single tour date in support of two new recordings, and warmly recalled her first date in Philly at the Chestnut Cabaret in the '80s, saying that she still remembered how crowded it was and the great time she had as a performer.

Now, almost in an artistic realm of her own, but here for what was advertised as a holiday tune show, this was so much more. Reeves and her quartet delved into multi-genre jazz, with an ever-impressive focus on Afro-Caribbean idioms.

The set opened with pianist Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time is Here," pianist Peter Martin's fine, extended arrangement framing Reeve's range and seemingly limitless tonal accents. Reeves proved, without doubt, that she has one of the best passagios in jazz and standards singing, demonstrating her ability to use range in a non-decorative way. It was about the song, vocal control, and immediacy with her fellow musicians, led by Martin's driving elegance, Reginald Veal's deeply bowed bass, the blue flame drive of percussionist Terreon Gully and flamenco dexterity of guitarist Romero Lubambo.

Reeves is not only a standards master; her interpretative instincts and skills push the art form in a substantive way. What she did with a ghostly bit of nostalgia like "Twelfth of Never" was astounding. Singing Thad Jones' "A Child Is Born" as an appropriate Christmas song., the quartet's arrangement sounded like a full, Nelson Riddle-style orchestra against her full- throated vocals, while a crisp tempo gave "Let It Snow" the exact amount of frost.

The singer's idol has always been Sarah Vaughan, and Reeves told a great story about meeting the Divine One backstage at a tribute to saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. She noted that Vaughan's signature was not singing a song, or even a phrase, the same way twice. Reeves invoked Vaughan on "Misty," holding a few deep basso notes, in homage; Impressive, but ultimately Reeves and the band wanted this to be too many things. But, even with that, vocally, Reeves really slayed.

Reeves also demonstrated, on several vocalese and tamped-down scat intros, just how much her vocal instrument was a part of the band. On one unnamed tango-sounding number that just kept getting hotter and hotter, Reeves eventually sang an explanation that, while in a hotel room in Barcelona, she heard this singer on the TV that was so electric it didn't matter that she didn't understand the words and was, nonetheless, inspired by the song being sung.

The number that brought the house down was one the audience clearly remembered from the cabaret days, called "Better Days" but also known as the "Grandma Song," an unabashed sentimental journey, with Reeves unleashing a very a heartfelt vocal reserve.

Shop

More Articles

Read "Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2016
by Doug Collette
Published: June 16, 2016
Read "Montreux Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Montreux Jazz Festival 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Gerry Malkin Quintet at the BeanRunner Café" Live Reviews Gerry Malkin Quintet at the BeanRunner Café
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "The Billy Hart Quartet at the 21c Museum Hotel" Live Reviews The Billy Hart Quartet at the 21c Museum Hotel
by Joseph Boselovic
Published: September 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!