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Beautiful Life Import
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If you know Dianne Reeves, then you probably don't need me to tell you her voice only grows more magnificent as the years pass. You probably don't need to read another person comparing her to Sarah Vaughan, or to point out how astonishing her ability to improvise is. Really, the only question when a new album comes out is about what songs she'll include, and how good the arrangements will be.
After hearing her go through a phase where she focused too heavily on overdone jazz standards with straightforward arrangements, here we have Dianne Reeves back in her purest, most perfect form: crossing musical genres with abandon, incorporating popular songs never attempted in a jazz vein before, soaring over original and creative arrangements, expressing deeply held personal philosophies and beliefs through her lyrics.
It's wonderful to hear Dianne returning to more eclectic, personal material as she had done earlier in her career. About half the songs are written or co-written by Dianne herself, with the rest coming from musicians as diverse as Bob Marley, Stevie Nicks and Ani DiFranco. As with all of her best music, Dianne completely reinvents these songs with a jazz sensibility and a soulfulness that, for me, far outshines the original versions. Just take a listen to what she does with Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" for one example.
The only criticism I have is that I could have done without "Stormy Weather", the only jazz standard included. It's also the longest track, taken at a dirge-like tempo, and while it's performed artfully, does the world really need yet another version of this song?Read more ›
The first two songs on this album are sure to satisfy the "purists" and they are terrific. Then we go into a breathtaking cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams", which is a complete and outstanding reworking of this classic; followed by "Satiated" which might be considered straight R&B (and with very sympathetic vocals from Gregory Porter) if it were not for the improvised guitar fills from Marvin Sewell; followed by another incredible reworked remake, this time of Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain".
And so it goes. A lot of care went into the making of this album and the genre-bending exercises - including "Tango", a terrific Afro-Cuban number - only strengthen the whole outing. It is still unquestionably a vocal jazz album and an outstanding one at that. My only minor complaint is that the last song, "Long Road Ahead", is not up to the standard of the rest of the album. Not an issue in the days of digital media as you can choose whether or not to include that song in your playlist. Everything else is indispensable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A nice album by Diane Reeves. Her voice is mature, the selection of songs were great and some of the collaborations amazing [for instance Gregory Porter and Lalah Hathaway]. Read morePublished 27 days ago by arnaldo
EXCELLENT I LOVE all of this womyn's work! this is the best yet.Published 1 month ago by Leslie R. Woods
Forever will I be a fan of this woman! Timeless, wonderful music!Published 1 month ago by Dawn G. Hayden
This was purchased as a gift but fortunately I was able to download a copy for myself. The recipient was quite pleased with it as was I.Published 2 months ago by Janice Reddick
Diane goes pop here, and the results are fantastic! She covers Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac, and Bob Marley, and it's gorgeous music.Published 8 months ago by Tim Nyborg