In her first Blue Note album of new material in five years-and her first since providing the award-winning soundtrack to George Clooney's 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck-Dianne Reeves, one of the premier vocalists in the world, returns with When You Know, a stunning array of performances of old and new standards along with an infectious,
uplifting new original.
The much-anticipated album by the four-time Grammy winner-the only singer to win the vocal category for three consecutive recordings in any singing category-showcases Reeves at the top of her game. Her versatility in song interpretation is unrivaled, a talent which is richly on display in each and every song. When You Know is Reeves most commercial offering in years, and will be a touchstone for singers in generations to come.
When You Know emerged following a period of intense touring for Reeves. Creatively revitalized during a break at home in Denver, she suddenly announced a desire to get into the studio right away, teaming once again with producer George Duke (Natalie Cole, Anita Baker), Reeves' cousin and producer of two of her Grammy-winning albums: 2001's In the Moment and 2002's The Calling.
This album's uniqueness can be attributed to Reeves having performed in an unusual musical context over the past year: two guitars and voice. Conceived by her manager, Darryl Pitt, for Europe's Jazz Baltica Festival, the setting enabled her to discover new ways for her voice to both soar and seduce. Guitar masters Russell Malone and Romero Lubambo joined Reeves for the performance and the result was magical. As a result, a 25-date European "Strings Attached" tour was booked-concerts that are still being
"What a wonderful experience," enthused Reeves. "Every night I couldn't wait to get onstage. Romero and Russell come from such different places, with different textures and colors, and there I was sitting between them. The music just took hold of me and I discovered new ways in which to sing. They gave me so much love and this record came out of that."
In addition to Lubambo and Malone, joining Reeves on When You Know are a cast of familiar faces from past albums, including pianist Billy Childs and saxophonist Steve Wilson as well as new collaborators pianist Geoffrey Keezer and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Veterans of Reeves' bands who appear include bassists Reuben Rogers and Reginald Veal and drummer
As for the album repertoire, Reeves confides it was the different waypoints of love that did the choosing. "There is a Gustav Klimt painting I had seen at the Belvedere in Vienna of a young woman moving through life. I remember loving the various depictions of the phases of her life from innocence to increasing maturity. In a similar way, this album progresses through songs which celebrate different phases of love, in much the same way our notions of love change as we move through time."
Each song on the album has its own personality, lyrically and musically, and received an individualized interpretation. Reeves points to her collaborators for helping her achieve that goal. "The musicians on When You Know have such broad palettes, and they place their individuality into the music in such a musical way." Case in point: Childs arranged the lyrical gem "Just My Imagination," the signature Motown tune for the Temptations, which Reeves delivers in a dreamy state of euphoria. "Dreamy is right," remarked Reeves. "It's that time in high school when you're looking at that cute guy on the other side of the classroom lost in the daydreams of a life together."
And then there is the lushly lyrical and exuberantly delivered "Over the Weekend," which was first sung by Mabel Mercer and then Nancy Wilson-the latter who encouraged Reeves to record it. Reeves' robust interpretation is nothing short of breathtaking. There is also a bewitching take on Minnie Ripperton's 1975 hit, "Lovin' You," and an effortlessly nuanced and richly hued performance featuring the two guitars on the Cy Coleman/Peggy Lee classic "I'm In Love Again," whose lyric conveys a more experienced, refined love.
Reeves inhabits the meditative, highly grooved "Midnight Sun" and provides an impassioned take on "Windmills of Your Mind." "One of the baddest songs," says Reeves of the latter. "The Bergmans' lyrics contain such a rush of emotion; it's expressed so perfectly-and so unrelenting. You can't help but be carried away-and in the end, 'When you knew that it was over in the autumn of goodbyes/For a moment you could not recall the color of his eyes.' Exactly!"
The album's title track was introduced by Shawn Colvin in the film Serendipity. "I love that song so much," says Reeves. "And what a perfect sentiment in which to wrap this recording." Reeves' buoyant, emphatic interpretation not only implores us to follow our hearts when we know, but also provides the gentle nudge that we do know.
The album concludes with Reeves' sole original offering. "Today Will Be a Good Day," is a rollicking blues delivered with a heap of bounce and boogie kicked into gear by Malone's guitar. It's dedicated to Reeves' 83-year-old mother, who despite health-related setbacks, is a sparkplug of life and, says Reeves, "My biggest inspiration. If you don't call her by 8:30 a.m., you're not going to catch her. She's so independent yet so giving-a wonderful example of living in grace." The lyrics are her mother's words
of wisdom and how she lives her life -
a gift to us all.
For Reeves, creating and recording When You Know was a not a labor of love-it was just love. "I was working too much for me to be creative, but once I was off for a stretch, I knew what I needed to do. This album blossomed so fast, and I love it because it allowed me to revisit so many important moments, and as a singer, it took me to so many new places."
Dianne Reeves, the preeminent jazz vocalist the New York Times described as, "The only jazz singer with a voice big enough to rival Sarah Vaughan's," releases a gorgeous album of songs celebrating the different stages of love in a woman's life. When You Know, coming out on Blue Note Records showcases Reeves' alternately honey velvet and soaring voice in her own interpretation of "new" standards from The Temptations to Minnie Ripperton to Shawn Colvin. The four-time Grammy winner, and the only singer to win the vocal category for three consecutive recordings in any singing category, won a whole new legion of fans in recent years with her prominent onscreen role in the film "Good Night, And Good Luck." Her last Grammy was for this soundtrack.
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