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).
     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 

    Diaa Bekheet

    Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets. He is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures