WBGO Radar

Dianne Reeves: Beautiful Life

cover art for Dianne Reeves' CD Beautiful Life

Singer Dianne Reeves is feeling romantic on Beautiful Life, her first studio album in five years. The disc takes listeners on a surprising journey, with Reeves as our guide, through what jazz might be when touched and moved by deep emotion.

The new release is her first on Concord, although she was featured on the label's Grammy-winning  soundtrack to the George Clooney film "Good Night And Good Luck.'  

Songs ride the spectrum from jazz to soul, and turn the familiar into the unexpected, with covers of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" and Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain," as well as originals by Reeves and her close collaborators, such as pianist Gerri Allen and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, the album's producer.

"Dreams," a Fleetwood Mac cover, pairs Reeves with pianist Robert Glasper. "32 Flavors," by singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, has long been an audience favorite in Reeves' live shows.

"Stormy Weather," the standard by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler which features alto saxophonist Tineke Postma, is well known to listeners through the voices of Ethel Waters, Lena Horne and Billie Holiday, and here gets a treatment which demonstrates Reeves can both honor and reinvent this lineage. 

Marley's "Waiting in Vain" features Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo and neo-soul singer Lelah Hathaway; "Wild Rose" features bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, who also wrote the piece. Reeves teamed with band members Tereon Gully and Peter Martin to write the melancholy ballad "Cold." 

"Long Road Ahead,"  another original, is dedicated to Reeves' mother, who recently passed away. "Feels So Good (Lifted)" pairs Reeves with pianist George Duke, her cousin and a musical mentor, who also left us late last year.

Reeves first performed Carrington's "Satiated," which features a vocal duet with Gregory Porter, on the drummer's Grammy-winning Mosaic Project CD. Additional guest appearances in this all-star cast include bassist Richard Bona,  harmonicist Gregoire Maret, and pianist Gerald Clayton.

   - Tim Wilkins, WBGO digital content producer

The audio for this album is no longer available on RADAR. Visit the iTunes and Amazon links to preview and purchase.

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