LIVE REVIEW: A Jazz Singer Demonstrates the Fine Art of Holding Back

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Monday February 27, 2012


A Jazz Singer Demonstrates the Fine Art of Holding Back
By: Stephen Holden

Grandeur with refinement: that describes the aura of Dianne Reeves, whose concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall on Friday evening revealed her more than ever to be the vocal heir of Sarah Vaughan, whose voice could also travel anywhere. To call Ms. Reeves a warbler or a songbird isn’t just to trot out shopworn terms for a female jazz singer, but to point out how many of her introductions to songs are wordless, improvised exercises in tonal coloration.

These preludes have the feel of preparatory meditations before Ms. Reeves plunges into fresh musical territory. Within the semi-orchestral settings of her band ‘” Peter Martin on piano, Romero Lubambo and Peter Sprague on guitars, Reginald Veal on bass and Terreon Gully on drums ‘” the drums kept a lower-than-average profile. Rather than punching out hard rhythm, they supplied complex textural seasoning. Instrumental solos were tasty but never ostentatious.

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