Dianne Reeves | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dianne Reeves 

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Her first LP revealed your basic pop-jazz-soul chanteuse, albeit one blessed by an unusually strong and flexible set of pipes; her second, titled simply Dianne Reeves (the first Blue Note album by a vocalist that I can recall) proved the lady might become a serious jazz singer, too. Carmen, Sarah, and Betty can rest secure for the moment, but Dianne Reeves seems to have the same kind of sheer musical moxie that characterizes those doyennes of improvisatory singing--a point driven home by her audacious quickstep arrangement of "That's All," which is always performed as a weepy ballad. Such challenging standards constitute the minority on her latest album, but even the less ambitious contemporary tunes feature sudden sparks of a deeper musicality. Like Grover Washington and Joe Sample--two popular, technically accomplished instrumentalists whose flirtations with fusion disguise their solid grasp of the jazz tradition--Reeves has two choices. She can go further into that tradition, or she can try to reshape its boundaries, and either one is fine with me, just so long as she keeps finding new layers in that giant voice. This is what Grammy-winner Diane Schuur wants--or at least should want--to sound like. Sunday, 7 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage: 929-5959.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carol Friedman.


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