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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
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.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

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."