Diane Reeves Concord debut is her first release in five years and arguably her finest to date!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
A stunning cover brings together one of the most consistent vocalists of our time with an all star collection of artists including Gregory Porter, George Duke and Lalah Hathaway. A release that may well be one of the most difficult projects to pull off with out creating the obvious disconnects that could plague such a project. Beautiful Life is a lyrical celebration from artists that tend to inhabit the same melodic wheelhouse while moving their skills through a myriad of genres, styles and forms with flair and panache.
R&B, Latin and a more contemporary pop vibe all come together to push the improvisational music known as jazz into a more 21st century contemporary sound that embraces a post modern dynamic more so than many of her contemporaries. The covers here are eclectic with arrangements that are spot on. The Bob Marley classic "Waiting and Vain" and Ani DiFranco's "32 Flavors" may well be at opposite ends of the melodic spectrum but the innate ability of Reeves to transcend the expected has never been better. Another key aspect to the success of this release will be the two new songs "Cold" and "Satiated" which could have many talking Grammy nod on the next go round.
Another of the plethora of highpoints on Beautiful Life would certainly be the somewhat unexpected and incredibly successful collaboration with Robert Glasper on the Fleetwood Mac iconic tune Dreams. This is more than a riff, Reeves and Glasper forge new music without mangling the memory or the magic of the original tune and perhaps this alone is why Beautiful Life should and in all likelihood will carve out a wide ranging level of acceptance of both fans old and new.
Nothing to grind on here, Dianne Reeves and Concord are a perfect pairing. Another pick of the litter for 2014.
Personnel: Diane Reeves: Vocals; Gerald Clayton: Piano, Keyboards; George Duke: Keyboards; Marvin Sewell: Guitar; Dwight Sills: Additional Guitar; Reginald Veal: Bass; Terreon Gully: Drums; Munyungo Jackson: Percussion; Sean Jones: Trumpet; Terri Lyne Carrington: Programming, Percussion, Background Vocals, Drums; Nadia Washington: Background Vocals; Bobby Sparks: Keyboards, Organ, Clavinet; George Duke: Synth Solo; Nadia Washinton: Background Vocals and Acoustic Guitar; Christian St. Louis: Bass; Robert Glasper: Piano, Keyboards; Cederic Hanriot: Additional Keyboards; James Genus: Bass; Gregory Porter: Vocals; Shedrick Mitchell: Organ; Carl Burnett: Additional Guitar; Tia Fuller; Alto Saxophone, Trumpet; Lalah Hathaway: Vocals, Vocal Arrangement; Peter Martin: Piano; Romero Lubambo: Acoustic Guitar; Richard Bona; Bass; Ray Angry: Piano; Charles Overton: Programming; Leo Genovese: Keyboards; Leandro Pellegrino: Guitar; Esperanza Spalding: Bass, Background Vocals; Sheila E.: Congas; Ingrid Jensen: Trumpet; Camille Thurman: Flute; Tineke Postma: Soprano Saxophone; Raul Midon: Vocal Trumpet; Leonardo Osuna: Percussion.