News / Arts & Entertainment

Dianne Reeves' 'Beautiful Life' Offers Musical Melting Pot

American singer Dianne Reeves (Courtesy photo by Jerris Madison).
American singer Dianne Reeves (Courtesy photo by Jerris Madison).
Diaa Bekheet
—  Dianne Reeves is extending her jazz style beyond the boundaries of pop, soul, and contemporary R&B with her new album, Beautiful Life, which skillfully blends modern jazz and soul with bossa nova and reggae music.

Dianne Reeves accepts her award for best jazz vocal album for "A Little Moonlight" during the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004, in Los Angeles.Dianne Reeves accepts her award for best jazz vocal album for "A Little Moonlight" during the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004, in Los Angeles.
x
Dianne Reeves accepts her award for best jazz vocal album for "A Little Moonlight" during the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004, in Los Angeles.
Dianne Reeves accepts her award for best jazz vocal album for "A Little Moonlight" during the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004, in Los Angeles.
The four-time Grammy winner officially released  Beautiful Life on February 14. It showcases 12 songs, which are engaging and emotionally volcanic. A good example is her interpretation of Bob Marley’s classic reggae anthem "Waiting In Vain.”

“It’s one of his great songs. They all are," Reeves explained in an interview with VOA. "But this one really, really speaks and my very dear friend (nylon-string guitarist) Romero Lubambo from Brazil arranged this particular song for me."

“He has his magic thing of reinterpreting things," she added. "So, I loved it and that’s what we have featuring (singer) Lalah Hathaway.”

Reeves reaches new heights on her scat version of “Tango,” and on the new arrangement Marvin Gaye's iconic “I Want You.”

Beautiful Life, Reeves’ 20th and finest album (in my humble opinion), is a collaborative effort. It features skilled musicians such as Grammy winner Terri Lyne, Esperanza Spalding, Nadia Washington, (her late cousin) George Duke, and Harold Arlen.

 

A Detroit, Michigan native, Reeves started her music career at home with her family. Her father was a singer and her mother, Vada Swanson, was a trumpeter.  “It made a big difference,” said Reeves, about the influence they had on her career choice. By the time she was ready to leave home and go out in the world trying to make her dreams come true, she says she stayed mindful of her mother’s advice which was: “Just keep beating, moving forward, stay ready so you don’t have to get ready and learn as much as you can.”

In 2005, Reeves dazzled moviegoers by singing on the soundtrack of George Clooney's “Good Night, and Good Luck.” Clooney had decided that jazz was  the best compliment for the black-and-white cinematography depicting New York City in the 1950s.

"It was the music of a certain era that I love around the ‘50s and with singers sang in a totally different way, and I loved that George Clooney selected all of the music for this film that went so beautifully with the story," she said. "So it was kind of like the Greek chorus of the movie, and the jazz was performed live in the film. That was incredible." 

Critics consider Beautiful Life, produced by Terri Lyne, to be a strong comeback for Reeves after a five-year break.  Reeves said she was forced to stay close to home due to her mother’s failing health. “I just wanted to be able to be with her. And so, I worked when I was, you know, home a lot more," she explained.

Asked about the meaning behind the name of her new album she replied “Even in a world with much sadness, at its essence, life is beautiful."


Listen to more music and interviews here on Jazz Beat 

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."