The Delicious Soulfulness of Dianne Reeves

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Wednesday July 30, 2014

From The Huffington Post

The Delicious Soulfulness of Dianne Reeves
By: Diriye Osman

Dianne Reeves oozes earth-deep soulfulness. Everything about her – from the way she sings to the way she speaks – is soulful. Warmth, diamond-like precision and generosity, in her music and in her approach to the world at large, make her the sort of artist that is a delight to hang out with. This is important to Reeves’ appeal. She can sing up and down the scales, interpret any song in a style that will stun you and still keep it real. What makes Dianne Reeves so mesmeric is the humility that underscores the mastery.

Conversations about jazz masters tend to have a masculine cadence. Dizzy Gillespie, Monk and Miles Davis are rightly spoken of in breathless tones. Even Nina Simone, who viewed the world through a womanist lens, often spoke only of men when discussing masters. Female jazz musicians are deemed divas – a term that has a dismissive tone to it. It is telling that when Terri Lyne Carrington, the genius drummer, composer, record producer and professor, won the Grammy Award for best jazz instrumental album in 2014 she became the first woman to do so. With that context in mind, I’ll posit this: Dianne Reeves is one of our generation’s definitive jazz masters, a vocal stylist of extraordinary skill and vivacity.

This vivacity comes through during our conversation. I ask Reeves about the five year wait between her previous album, When You Know, and her latest offering, Beautiful Life. “I don’t feel like it’s been five years,” she says, “because I’ve been doing so many other things. Some people think that all you do is record and it’s not the case. You take on other projects as well and you have to live a little bit because it inspires your work.”

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