May 27, 2024

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Dianne Reeves is often considered the torch-bearer of the great Sarah Vaughan’s operatic-jazz legacy: Video

23.10. – Happy Birthday !!! But if the names of Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald are often invoked as proof of her class, Reeves has been open to a wider world than jazz. Since her early years (aided by her 1980s mentor, Harry Belafonte), she has been influenced by sounds from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

She has enjoyed big-star treatment in recent years, but these intimate performances at Ronnie Scott’s revealed new depths to this passionate, fearless and technically astonishing artist.

A compatible quartet comprising Romero Lubambo (guitar), the elegantly economical Peter Martin (piano), Reginald Veal (bass) and Terreon Gully (drums) opened Monday’s show on their own. They seamlessly accelerated from soft, acoustic-guitar musings, though a Latin-jazz pulse that built to a dancefloor groove. Reeves arrived with unstarry casualness to Gully’s quiet rimshot tick. She floated a pure, high sound, curled it downward and slowly revealed the song to be The Twelfth of Never. Within moments, her clarity of phrasing and vocal agility were drawing startled reactions from the audience.

A flawlessly articulated and unaccompanied African chant turned into a stately Cuban swinger, before Reeves conjured an astonishing interpretation of Stormy Weather, with eerie falsetto pleas. Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain rolled out over a languid shuffle, and I’m in Love Again benefited from a perfect arrangement. Fitzgerald-like fast scat opened the second half, before Reeves ripped into a gospelly, sexually charged and increasingly freewheeling love song that felt like eavesdropping on private ecstasy and turmoil. It was a show for the 2012 fave‑raves list.

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