Reeves doesn't want to be limited to the jazz box
Dianne Reeves fights a battle against what she calls “industry-speak” every time she performs.
That business vernacular puts music into categories, defines songs people sing, and makes performers put together tours built around themes or supporting an album.
“People get into it, and it makes them think a certain way,” she says, with a bit of a sigh.
Reeves says her concert May 4 at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side won't be built around any musical business plan. It simply will be Reeves performing the range of material that has made her a four-time Grammy award-winner.
Reeves is a singer who has jazz technique mastered, but, at times, chooses not to use it because it does not fit a particular song. She can go from a classic jazz pieces such as “Afro Blue” to a disciplined, refined version of “Windmills of Your Mind.” She also can take a pop hit such as “Just My Imagination” and give it a new dignity.
That ability keeps her on the road with a quartet featuring pianist Peter Martin, drummer Terreon Gully, bassist Reginald Veal and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo.
Reeves, 56, was born in Detroit and is a cousin of keyboardist/composer George Duke. Early in her career, she toured with pianists Billy Childs, Sergio Mendes and singer Harry Belafonte before releasing her first solo album in 1982.
She lives in Denver, where she grew up.
Reeves says she is able to present the variety of music she does because she tries to be honest in her style. Rather that trying to force a song in an “industry speak” format that would “fit” Dianne Reeves, she tries to reach out to songs that she could realistically perform.
She says that method is what allows her to perform well-known material or, on her upcoming album, mostly original songs. That album, coming out in the fall, is produced by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and will feature co-stars such as pianist Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway, Reeves says.
“It will show where I am at this point in time,” she says.
She seems proud of the variety in her work and says it is the reason her career has moved along so steadily.
“My audience is like my music,” she says. “It is filled with different people.”
The singer says social media has enabled her to stay in touch with that range of people, although she confesses to working only on Twitter — where her hashtag is #dianne reeves1 — and avoiding Facebook.
“It is a good way to reach people,” she says. “It is a good way of eliminating boundaries.”
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.