Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dianne Reeves: The Early Years

As a historical document, this collection of two half-hour Ad Lib TV programs, dating from 1980 and ’82 and featuring the young Dianne Reeves, is a keeper. Out of the gate Reeves was fully formed, instantly captivating and in control of every nuance. Attired and coiffed elegantly but modestly, she barely moves a muscle when she sings, other than those controlling her eyes, which augment the lyrical content so expressively, and her lips, which emit a sound ever so stunning. Soulful and confident, Reeves appears somewhat tentative on the small studio stage at first, but she overcomes by projecting in a manner that is anything but. She already bears the strength and maturity of the older Reeves, although it’s apparent she is still feeling her way.

During the first segment, in which Reeves is backed by pianist Billy Childs and his group A Fine Madness, the vocalist sails through a quartet of tunes highlighted by the ballad “Answer Me” and the Motown-ish “Welcome to My Love,” which gives her a chance to unloose a bit of grit. The band’s Reeves-less showcase “The Homes,” though, is little more than period lite-funk that mainly serves to interrupt the mood.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published