Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Beautiful Life
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on November 1, 2013
It's not too often that I purchase something that is playing on rotation over the CD shop PA system, without knowing anything about its contents, but that is what happened when I heard this permeating the store. Dianne Reeves has had a plethora of great recordings ranging from jazz, soul to international music, and this is an added achievement. Terri Lynn Carrington produced this album, and her taste and influence expands, luckily for us. Reeves' cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams, Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain", and that chestnut "Stormy Weather" are among the highlights - she breathes new life into these songs. (Haven't you heard great songs, that you wonder if they would sound even better, if they were interpreted differently, by a more capable singer?) "Tango" provides a bit of Latin flavor. Stellar support is provided by Gerald Clayton, Robert Glaspar, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona, Gregory Porter, Lilah Hathaway, and the late, great George Duke - 'nuff said! Those who love jazz, soul, and vocals should not miss this.
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on November 13, 2013
Finally! Dianne Reeves's first new album in over 5 years, and it's one of her best, on par with my all time favorite, 1999's "Bridges".

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? I prefer hearing Dianne do things that no one else can do. Truth be told, as commercially unpopular as jazz is, the world overflows with singers who can capably carry a jazz ballad.

As of this writing, the CD is only available as an expensive import. I was going to wait for the U.S. release-- I really have to watch the pennies these days-- but knowing how big a fan I am, a friend ordered it for me as a gift and I couldn't be more grateful to have this rare opportunity to be the first in the U.S. to comment on it. Fans should not even consider passing this one by when it's released here!
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on February 19, 2014
This is just rare and beautiful music at a time when loud and empty rules the airwaves. Her voice, the lyrics, the instruments all come together so nicely. I'm tempted to buy two hard copies to put in a vault somewhere just in case we humans forget what truly beautiful music sounds like.
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on February 17, 2014
I am not clear why someone would criticize this CD. I saw Ms. Reeves at Lincoln Jazz Center last Saturday and the second half of her show she featured the sounds from It's a Beautiful life, it was quite an experience. I loved all of the songs from the CD, but especially enjoyed the Marvin Gaye song, I Want You and the Bob Marley song , Waiting in Vain. While this CD is a different style of music from her past strictly Jazz CD's, this CD includes R&B, Caribbean and Blues elements to the songs, but she still maintains an element of Jazz in all of the songs. Outstanding CD, one that we will play over an over again.
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on March 13, 2014
This is just great music. I've been a Dianne Reeves fan for many years now, but this record blows all of her previous music away. The musicians are great, the writing is outstanding, and the choice of music is so diverse.
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on February 7, 2016
I get frustrated with reviewers bemoaning that Diana Reeves doesn't always stay true to the "pure" vocal jazz tradition (Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, etc.). Say what? How about outstanding melodic vocal music and so what if some of it bends genres outside jazz.
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.
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on February 17, 2014
I have every CD Diane ever made so ordering this one was a no-brainer.

When I played it - I was blown away. It exceeded all expectations.

Just when I think she reached her musical peak, she comes out with a CD like this!

Totally awesome. How she can produce such a variety of music, and all in her own style is just mind boggling.

Add Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona, Gregory Porter, Lalah Hathaway, Robert Glasper, Gerald Clayton and George Duke to this mix and it pushes the music to an incredible level of creativity and perfection.

5 stars doesn't do this body of work justice.
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on September 20, 2014
Sultry, sexy, upbeat album - in the true Diane Reeves style. I take great pride in playing different (moods of) music in my car, and every time I play 'Beautiful Life' in my car, people ask "who is THAT?" This album makes you wanna 'turn-up' the volume and groove, or set-it-up in the bedroom for a soft & sexy theme. You go Diane! Your talent, musical flexibility and style shine bright on this one!!
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on February 12, 2014
Love this album. Like a colorful and beautiful butterfly.
Excellent coordination and produce, Terri Lyne Carrington.
Also, Miss you, George Duke...
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on March 4, 2014
I give it 5 stars, as the production is GREAT, and her voice (as always) is great. The opener 'Marin's I want you. She sings in a voice that is soft, but powerful towards the end. I love her remake of 'Dreams' This is by far one of the strongest song, and it deserves a Grammy! This CD reminds me of 'Bridges' another great CD by the Lady Diane. It's worth every penny and then some. Young artist take a lesson from this LADY!
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