Picks and Pans Review: In the Moment
Dianne Reeves (Blue Note)
Jazz critics, particularly those of a purist bent, can be a persnickety lot. Consider Reeves’s can’t-win-for-losing plight. Once hailed as one of the genre’s bright young hopes, Reeves was already singing with trumpeter Clark Terry’s big band while she was still in high school. But she suffered critical lashings for spicing her 1987 album, Dianne Reeves, with Afro-Cuban, rock-fusion and—crime of crimes—pop flavorings. Then when she addressed social issues in 1993’s underrated Art and Survival (one song railed against female ritual circumcision), Reeves was dissed for being too emotional. On this intoxicating live album (the 10th release of her career), Reeves, now 43, is simply being herself, which means she packs loads of oaken-timbred feeling into pop and jazz standards (“Suzanne,” “Love for Sale”) and some sturdy, classically constructed originals. Reeves also scat-sings sublimely, and she even turns her musings to the audience into an intriguing sonic mosaic.
Bottom Line: A Moment’s bliss