Beautiful Life

Beautiful Life

by Dianne ReevesDianne Reeves


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Throughout her career, Dianne Reeves has, perhaps more than any other vocalist, blurred the line that separates jazz from pop and contemporary R&B, extending the boundaries of each. Beautiful Life is her first recording in five years and her debut for Concord. Carefully produced by Terri Lynne Carrington, the musical cast includes Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Reginald Veal, Sheila E., Sean Jones, , Gregory Porter, Gerald Clayton, Richard Bona, Lalah Hathaway, and her late cousin George Duke. The opener is a thoroughly inventive Carrington arrangement of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You," which underscores the gossamer quality in Reeves' voice and jazz phrasing, sacrificing none of the original's seductive soul -- it's as much of the spirit as it is of the flesh -- and features a fine trumpet solo by Jones. A brilliant reading of Stevie Nicks' "Dreams" is introduced by Terreon Gully's tight, woody rimshots and Glasper's gospel piano and ethereal keyboards. Reeves subtly draws on her gospel roots in the lyric amid skittering breaks and beats. Nadia Washington's lithe backing vocal floats amid the atmospheric textures before Reeves carries it out with Afro-Latin scatting. Carrington's "Satiated (Been Waiting)" is a sensual, sultry duet with Porter. Colored by horns, piano, electric guitar, and Duke's subtle keyboard treatments, its singers wed the gospel of Ray Charles and the blues of Nina Simone to jazz. Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" is introduced by a glistening synth before Glasper's piano, and Romero Lubambo's nylon-string frame the melody. Reggae, bossa, and even a languid mambo wind through as Hathaway soars in the background, supporting the ache in Reeves' delivery of longing and affirmation with Afro-Caribbean scatting in the bridge. It's followed by a groove-laden funk redo of Ani DiFranco's "32 Flavors," with backing vocals by Carrington and Washington; Jones' layered trumpets pop amid wah-wah guitars and keyboards. It's sexy as hell. Spalding's "Wild Rose" is airy, jazzy R&B highlighting Reeves' trademark gift for syncopated phrasing. A thorough reconstruction of Harold Arlen's "Stormy Weather" teams Reeves' steamy contralto and effortless falsetto with Tineke Postma's soprano saxophone and Peter Martin's glistening piano arpeggios. Soul and contemporary pop and jazz are threaded through the original melody, underscoring its reputation as a "standard." Reeves' own "Tango," with Raul Midon, commences as one, but her wordless vocal improvisation and the simmering percussion are derived from Afro-Cuban sources. As a result, the tune mutates first into rhumba and then a furious salsa, with the singer soaring above the erupting rhythmic fury. Closer "Long Road Ahead" -- an original -- seamlessly combines neo-soul, jazz, and gospel. The unwavering conviction in Reeves' voice is gracefully and elegantly complemented by Gregoire Maret's harmonica. Beautiful Life is Reeves' finest record to date. It not only blurs genre lines but erases them. The end result is glorious, accessible R&B drenched contemporary jazz that is as sophisticated as it is honest.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/11/2014
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072341715
catalogNumber: 34171
Rank: 82348

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dianne Reeves   Primary Artist,Vocals
Lalah Hathaway   Vocals
Terri Lyne Carrington   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
George Duke   Synthesizer,Keyboards,Soloist
Dwight Sills   Guitar
Reginald Veal   Bass
Sheila E.   Percussion,Conga
James Genus   Bass
Munyungo Jackson   Percussion
Romero Lubambo   Acoustic Guitar
Shedrick Mitchell   Organ
Marvin Sewell   Guitar
Ingrid Jensen   Trumpet
Bobby Sparks   Organ,Keyboards,Clavinet
Carl Burnett   Guitar
Richard Bona   Bass
Terreon Gully   Drums
Grégoire Maret   Harmonica
Peter Martin   Piano
Sean Jones   Percussion,Trumpet
Esperanza Spalding   Bass,Background Vocals
Robert Glasper   Piano,Keyboards
Tineke Postma   Soprano Saxophone
Leo Genovese   Keyboards
Gerald Clayton   Piano,Keyboards
Tia Fuller   Trumpet,Alto Saxophone
Gregory Porter   Vocals
Cedric Hanriot   Keyboards
Ray Angry   Piano
Camille Thurman   Flute
Nadia Washington   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Leonardo Osuna   Percussion
Leandro Pellegrino   Guitar
Christian St. Louis   Bass

Technical Credits

Bob Marley   Composer
Lalah Hathaway   Vocal Arrangements
Stevie Nicks   Composer
Geri Allen   Composer
Terri Lyne Carrington   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Horn Arrangements
Peter Sprague   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Ani DiFranco   Composer
Romero Lubambo   Arranger
Dianne Reeves   Composer
Paul Vastola   Engineer
Leon Ware   Composer
Darryl Pitt   Management
Ted Koehler   Composer
Arthur Ross   Composer
Terreon Gully   Composer
Peter Martin   Arranger,Composer
Esperanza Spalding   Composer
Matt Hayes   Engineer
Sinan Aksu   Retouching
Jeremy Loucas   Engineer
Albert J. Roman   Art Direction
Matt Malikowski   Engineer
Paul Johnston   Engineer
Ray Angry   Arranger,Producer
Charles Overton   Programming
Rod Steger   Engineer
Ian Cassel   Engineer
Nadia Washington   Composer
Omar Thomas   Horn Arrangements
Kevin Gundlach   Engineer
Jerris Madison   Retouching
Harvey Jackson   Photo Assistance

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