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 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
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”