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

Dianne Reeves: Beautiful Life

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Proof, yet again, of the dismal state of the music industry: It’s taken five years for Dianne Reeves to release a new album following her departure from Blue Note Records. But there is also plenty of good news associated with her delayed return. She’s landed at Concord, a label with a long tradition of handling vocalists with taste, intelligence and, most blessedly, minimal interference. She’s solicited Terri Lyne Carrington to produce Beautiful Life and to play (and, in two instances, sing) on 10 of its dozen tracks. And she and Carrington have assembled a remarkable spectrum of guests, including Gregory Porter, Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway, Geri Allen, Raul Midón and Grégoire Maret.

The half-decade absence has done nothing to diminish the power or glory of Reeves’ voice on record. Though she’s long been touted as an heir to Ella or Sarah, here she adopts a smoother, more soulful sound that’s closer in spirit to Anita Baker. Excepting “Stormy Weather,” Reeves’ choices in covers also lean toward the contemporary, ranging from a thundering, Glasper-propelled rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and a downy pairing with Hathaway on Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain” to a densely sensual twining with Porter on Carrington’s “Satiated (Been Waiting).”

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