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Dianne Reeves: Bridges

illustration of Dianne Reeves

We’ve lost Sarah, Carmen, Ella and Betty in this decade and with each passing, the critics bemoan the dearth of next-generation jazz singers fit to walk in their pumps. Rather than marginalizing young vocalists in no-win comparisons with the masters, we oughtta be about flexing fresh criteria … new paradigms. Ain’t Joni Mitchell as tonally complex as Carmen, don’t Erykah Badu work a nappy blues like Dinah, can’t Chaka groove the highs and lows like Betty Roche?

For that matter, what about Dianne Reeves? A vocalist who can shake the jazz out of R&B and gospel, hold her own with Sergio Mendes and Herbie Hancock, croon Quiet Storm/swing a big band and kick the hell outta “The Twelfth Of Never”, “Exactly Like You” and “Morning Has Broken” (in the same album) Reeves can’t be pigeonholed. If she ain’t a “jazz” diva then what you talkin’ ’bout Willis? Judging by the consummate artistry and poetic pop-soul-folk sweep of her ninth album Bridges, Dianne Reeves don’t care what you think. Fully aware that jazz can’t work if the vibe ain’t right, Reeves has gathered a fierce crew of spirit-cosmic friends and family (including producer/uncle George Duke, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Garrett, Stanley Clarke) together.

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