“You can’t get to no better days
Unless you make it through the night”
Sometimes you find just the right album cover but when you can’t, a great photo and fitting quote always works. I was 24 when I first heard Dianne Reeves’ self-entitled 1987 Blue Note release, Dianne Reeves. I fell in love with her music and have been a faithful listener ever since. She travels down many roads in her music and tells her stories so wonderfully. One moment she is soaring through “Sky Island” and then she pauses to tell us about “Better Days” (aka “The Grandma Song”) and meeting up again with her beloved grandmother. I can remember there was such a demand for the song in one of her early concerts, that she sang it twice. One of my favorite songs for quiet reflection is the poignant ballad “I’m O.K.” and then there is her beautiful reading of the Ellington classic “I’ve Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good.” The playful scatting and that burst of laughter at the end of “That’s All” lets you know that she truly enjoys her music. Also included on album are the gems “Harvest Time”, “Chan’s Song” (Never Said) which was penned by Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder, and “Yesterdays.”
She is joined on this early album by some wonderful musicians including her cousin, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Billy Childs, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Washington, and Paulinho da Costa. I am sure they saw the greatness, grace, and beauty back then that we see in her today. Whether she is scatting a joyous melody or chanting over an African rhythm, she does it with a style and finesse that come from deep within her soul.
Her latest Blue Note release, A Little Moonlight, brought her another Grammy award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, which is her 3rd in a row. Grammy or not, it is a fine album. Both of these albums will set the mood for any romantic evening, even Valentine’s Day. Enjoy your music.