Reeves At Wellington Jazz Festival

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Thursday June 08, 2017

The Dominion Post

Concert Review: Dianne Reeves – Wellington Jazz Festival
By: Colin Morris

When Dianne Reeves last visited Wellington in 2010, critic/reviewer Simon Sweetman described Reeves that night as “captivating, astonishing and amazing” and Friday night was no different.

Entering stage right in a bright yellow dress with a maxi-coat of printed flowers, it was as if summer had finally arrived. Reeves sported a luxurious head of hair a la Diana Ross, which was a far cry from her Dinah Washington-bangs in the film Goodnight and Good Luck. This 60-year-old, five-time Grammy winner is totally adept at presenting pop songs as jazz classics and although my heart is stamped with The Great American Songbook, I’m pleased that the jazz police have been taken down a peg or two. Yes, pop can make great jazz in the hands of the right singers and Reeves is one of a handful of chanteuses that seems to make it effortless.

Actually, effortless is quite the wrong word, as her vocal expertise seemed to betray no defects. Reeves’s lower register was uncannily like that of Sarah Vaughan, whilst her middle and upper-range had no obvious comparison.

And, what a crack band. Pianist Peter Martin, showed why his Cuban chops are just great; Romero Lubambo, on both electric and acoustic guitar, was dexterous and nimble-fingered; on bass, the legendary Reginald Veal held the tempo just right, which left drummer Terreon Gully to demonstrate how to drop a change in beat on a dime.

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