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Dianne Reeves: The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan

Jim Santella By

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Dianne Reeves and Sarah Vaughan have a lot in common. They share an emotional, from-the-heart form of communicating with an audience. A full, rich vocal tone and dramatic spirit bring them closer together with every phrase. Both appreciate a beautiful song, and both augment their presentations with unique, wordless vocal styles.

With a full string orchestra on every track, Reeves unleashes a program of stirring musical arrangements. Billy Childs, a bright guy with forward-leaning ideas, created most of these unique arrangements. The harmony and rhythm is a far cry from average. Reeves is at home with these arrangements, but you get the impression she's holding back. The drama of two Brazilian pieces brings out her emotional strengths most effectively. Dori Caymmi's "Obsession" and Milton Nascimento's "The Call" feature wordless chanting with a powerful hook.

Throughout the session, interludes by Steve Wilson, Clark Terry, Russell Malone, Romero Lubambo and both pianists enhance Reeves' tribute project. Except for Clark Terry's appearance on "I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You," the album was created live in the studio. Terry, who fills in with trademark vocal asides and a lovely, wah-wah trumpet solo, added his "touch" from across the continent after receiving a tape. The veteran makes it sound as if they're sharing the same stage. Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams and Sarah Vaughan, are all gone now. We wish they could be with us forever. Their recordings remain, and Reeves' tribute helps preserve the memory. As Clark Terry says on the album, "Yeah, well ya got me now, baby. Everything's cool. Everything's cool."

Track Listing: Lullaby Of Birdland, Send In The Clowns, Speak Low, Obsession, If You Could See Me Now, I Remember Sarah, Key Largo, I Hadn

Personnel: Dianne Reeves, vocals; Billy Childs, Mulgrew Miller, piano; Reginald Veal, bass; Greg Hutchinson, drums; Clark Terry, trumpet; Steve Wilson, alto & soprano sax; Romero Lubambo, Russell Malone, guitar; Munyungo Jackson, percussion; orchestra conducted by Billy Childs and Patrick Gandy

Title: The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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