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Dianne Reeves celebrates Sarah Vaughan at Goodnight Theater

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Dianne Reeves is a vocalist with much more than just a great voice - she is an instrumentalist bearing the torch of her idols and keeping jazz vocal music alive and well. Reeves along with her seasoned band, performed a diverse set of material throughout the evening- featuring selections from the Grammy-winner’s latest Blue Note release, "The Calling"(a tribute to Sarah Vaughan), while including a song she penned at age nine. The audience was simply mesmerized as Dianne Reeves performed beautiful standards using her autobiographical sketches to "personalize" the music, while her colorful voice inflections touched the audience in a profound way. Dianne showcased her finesse on many of the songs while she also interacted with the audience on a personal and humorous level, receiving great lovable applause from the crowd. Dianne’s alto voice was full of strength and fire as she emulated instruments like muted trumpet, trombone and her daring, yet graceful, scat singing.

Dianne Reeves is not to be confused with the "girl" singers of today’s pop scene as she demonstrates virtuosity, impeccable tone and a mature delivery that comes with decades of hard work and a genuine love for her craft- especially, in front of an audience. After witnessing a Dianne Reeves concert, it is no wonder her Blue Note release "In the Moment -Live in Concert"(2000), would finally receive a coveted Grammy-Award after four previous nominations! The Goodnight Theater audience was able to witness a world-class vocalist that has had numerous performances at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Theater and many world tours. The Franklin-Simpson Community Arts Council (30 minutes from Nashville) hosted the "Celebrating Sarah Vaughan" performance that was both a treat and an EVENT for all present at the Goodnight Auditorium.

Dianne Reeves entered the stage with her opening tune "Morning Has Broken," showcasing how she can manipulate different tones from her alto voice and sound in essence, like more than one vocalist or instrument. The band interacted with great dynamics and seemed to fuel the vocal fire Reeves was beginning to heat up. The next few songs would showcase the jazz standards part of the program with a nod to ("Sassy) Sarah Vaughan. Reeves and company coasted through "Yesterdays", "Misty" and a scat solo on "Lullaby of Birdland." The band left the stage as Reeves and her bassist Reginald Veal would perform a duet version of the Duke Ellington tune, "Mood Indigo." Veal performed great ostinato riffs and bass soloing which complemented the sublime - emotional solos, which flowed out of Reeves with effortless mastery. Although subtle in delivery, "Mood Indigo" ignited a great crowd response as the indigo blues was performed with such power and respect for the composer’s mood from the duo. The great Gershwin tune "Facinatin’ Rhythm", would close the set with solos from everyone including a percussion feature from Rocky Bryant on drums and Munyungo Jackson on congas, bongos and timbales. The audience was treated to Afro - Cuban rhythms and a mixture of world music performances of the highest level. Reeves joined in with a funky scat solo while Otmaro Ruiz received a nod from the audience for his fantastic Latin funk solo on piano. The sound of the facility was superb and the energy was very easy to feel. The set would break for intermission, as Dianne Reeves and her group would take a well-deserved breather.

The second set opened with a Latin pop version of "In Your Eyes" and a Joni Mitchell tune, "The Ring", which was a holiday flavored piece that was a welcome part of the song list in late October. Dianne Reeves would sing a song simply titled "Nine," since she wrote the piece at that age. "Nine" won the crowd over with a humoresque play on the musings of a young Dianne Reeves and her adventures with her grandmother. The song also gives us a glimpse of one of the most personable artists on the scene today, demonstrating how Reeves can get into "the moment" during a live performance. This moment used a scat vocal to rap or communicate the anecdotal story with a musical delivery. The show picked up the pace with a gospel-funk version of "Testify" and "The Best Times (Grandma’s Song)", both written by Dianne Reeves and present on her Grammy-winning collection "In The Moment". These originals along with the jazz standards she so eloquently performed show the depth and artistry of Dianne Reeves and her band. Upon reflection, one can only wonder if a young lady somewhere will take a dream and inspiration from Dianne Reeves and offer their own tribute to "Lady Dianne" in the future. One thing for certain, it would certainly be well deserved and received. Fine.

Sponsors: Franklin Bank & Trust Co.- PIC - Franklin Favorite - Harmon/Becker Automotive Systems -Arvin Meritor - Judy & Lee Steers - Charlie’s Electric Service - Crocker & Wilkey - Franklin-Simpson Renaissance - Franklin-Simpson Community Arts Council

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Unknown
  • Concert Date: 10/25/2001
  • Venue: Goodnight Theater (Historic)
  • City State Country: Franklin, KY, USA
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