STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Dianne Reeves and Peter Martin


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This week, let's check out some clips of singer Dianne Reeves, who will be coming to St. Louis on Friday, February 5 to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The show will serve as the kickoff performance for the new Peter Martin Music series conceived and curated by Peter Martin, the pianist and St. Louis native who serves as Reeves' music director.

Born in 1956 in Detroit and raised in Denver, Reeves first gained public attention in the late 1970s as a featured vocalist with the group Caldera. She subsequently worked with pianist Billy Childs, singer Harry Belafonte, and pianist/composer Sergio Mendes before launching her solo career and signing with the revived Blue Note Records in 1987. She's won four Grammy Awards for “Best Jazz Vocal Performance," most recently in 2006 for the soundtrack to the film Good Night and Good Luck.

Reeves' powerful voice, keen sense of swing, and ability to convincingly interpret a wide variety of styles have made one of the most highly regarded singers in jazz. She's performed in St. Louis a number of times before with her band, but in February, she'll be doing a duo concert with Martin - something that's apparently a rare enough occurrence that I couldn't find any videos online of just the two of them performing together.

However, there are a number of worthy clips featuring Reeves and Martin along with her other regular band members, bassist Ruben Rogers and drummer Greg Hutchinson, and we've got four of them here for you today, all with fine performances from the singer and substantial contributions from the pianist.

First up is Reeves' rendition of the ballad “That's All," featuring a very tasty intro from Martin (and some good work by the camera operator looking over his shoulder). Down below, there's the swinging blues “I Remember Sarah," recorded in 2005 at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel and showcasing Reeves' scat-singing skills. Then, there's the funky “Do I Move You?" with some rumbling piano from Martin and polyrhythmic funk from Hutchinson. Finally, there's a version of “In Your Eyes," one of Reeves' most popular recordings, recorded for Italian television.

For more on the Peter Martin Music series, see StLJN's previous coverage here and here. For more about Reeves, see this 2008 interview with Jazz.com; this conversation with Blogcritics.com; this interview from the UK newspaper the Guardian; and this video interview. For more about Martin, check out his very comprehensive website or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pianopeter.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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