Dianne Reeves and friends at Carnegie Hall, Saturday 2/16

18 Feb

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© Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos.

On Saturday night at Carnegie Hall (http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2013/2/16/0730/PM/Dianne-Reeves-and-Friends/), I remembered why I love Dianne Reeves so much: she is moving, elegant, funny, and, of course, most talented. Reeves is also generous and shared the stage with younger female artists Lalah Hathaway, Nadia Washington, Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2wlZV6iap4). Reeves also invited pianist George Duke on stage.

Reeves is always magical on stage, and she is full of soul. I had already fallen in love with her show “Sing the Truth,” with Lizz Wright and Angelique Kidjo (http://jazztimes.com/sections/concerts/articles/29242-angelique-kidjo-dianne-reeves-and-lizz-wright-in-newark-n-j) (http://franceusamedia.com/2011/09/detroit-jazz-festival/). I was lucky enough to see their show twice in 2011, and was really happy to finally hear some of Reeves’s new songs on Saturday night. Peter Martin was on piano and keys, Reginald Veal on acoustic and electric basses, Terreon Gully on drums and Brazilian guitar player Romero Lubambo (who performed at the Jazz Standard the entire week with Luciana Souza).

Reeves believes, as she mentioned in an interview with Jeff Tamarkin for the 2013 Carnegie Hall Playbill, “that music has no boundaries,” which was clear from the beginning of Saturday night’s concert, when she started the concert acapella and improvised on hispanic as well as bossa nova rhythms and tunes.

Reeves inviting bass player and singer Esperanza Spalding on stage was in keeping with Reeves’s “blurr[ing] the lines between jazz, pop, R&B, world music, and other genres.” (Tamarkin) Spalding’s and Reeves’s songs are about “female empowerment” (Tamarkin), and love. One of the songs Reeves sang on Saturday night was about how sometimes “we have to be baptized by fire,” before understanding what a good and what a bad relationship are. The entire song was a story about how Reeves was caught up in a harmful relationship for a year before being able to finally get out of it.

As Belgian guitar player Jeanfrançois Prins was telling me, Esperanza Spalding is blazing a trail by bringing jazz to a larger audience – but Reeves is also a trail blazer and a border crosser, as her collaboration with Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright has proven. Reeves explained that Spalding “wears [her] out” and added: “How beautiful the sound, the writing, the spirit.”

When Reeves invited Nadia Washington on stage for the very first time, during Saturday’s show, she explained that twitter was one of the ways she had been able to stay in touch with Washington’s sound after meeting the Texan singer at a Masters class at the Berklee Music School in Boston. Washington sang Robert Glasper and Gretchen Parlato’s song “In a Dream.”

Afterwards, Reeves sang Marley’s song “Waiting in Vain.”

Reeves also thanked her friends and family thanks to whose “prayer, patience and understanding” she claims to still be around.

Saturday night’s show was wonderful, and Reeves sounded really good in Carnegie Hall’s main room.

Thank you to Jack Vartoogian for the lovely picture. 

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