Whilst the record buying public has been snapping up the recent efforts by Diana Krall and Norah Jones, Dianne Reeves has quietly been turning out a series of consistantly excellent records on Blue Note. Her previous album saw her paying tribute to Sarah Vaughn with a lush orchestra that harked back to the classic albums of Sass, Ella and Billie Holiday. This follow up CD pares things down to a trio with guest appearances by Romero Lubambo on guitar and Nicholas Payton on trumpet. If anything, the results are even more impressive and clearly demonstrate that Ms. Reeves is without doubt the peer of her generation.
The disc opens with "Loads of love", the most fun track on the album. With the exception of Thelonious Monk's "Reflections", the remainder of the CD features a collection of superlative standards. "I concentrate on you" is the highlight of the album although the arrangement of "Lullaby of Brodaway" is so original it will take your breath away as to how this tune had been totally transformed. I am also fond of "You go to my head" and this compares favourably with the late, great Betty Carter's version recorded in the early 1990's. As on all of her records, she is backed by a cracking rythmn section, the pianist Peter Martin deserving particular praise.
From a technical point of view, I strongly believe that Dianne Reeves is up there with Ella Fitzgerald. Her voice is full of warmmth, her diction flawlessly clear and, added to which, she is not afraid to really swing.
If you want to know where jazz singing really is at in 2004, forget your Norahs and Dianas and check out Dianne Reeves.I cannot recommend this record highly enough. It will appeal to loves of the contemporary scene as well as those fans brought up with an earlier generation of singers. A masterful performance.