Dianne Reeves – The Best of Dianne Reeves

Dianne Reeves
The Best of Dianne Reeves

(Blue Note – 2002)
by Carmen Miller

From 1987 to 2001 Dianne Reeves amazing contralto kept her among the elite jazz singers in the industry. This Blue Note compilation captures some of her best works of this period, beginning with one of her biggest popular hits, Better Days. Dianne has a way of moving you with her songs, just listen to her moving rendition of Joni Mitchell’s River; and her take on the classic Misty would make Sara Vaughn teary but proud (both of these are also first-time U.S. releases).

The love she feels for her music is very apparent on her version of Mongo Santamaria’s Afro-Blue which is delivered in a very funky vein. Testify waxes a little more mystical, or spiritual if you will, as does the gospel-tinged Endangered Species which is reminiscent of the old slave songs. You Taught My Heart To Sing is a McCoy Tyner piece that inspired the last lyric ever written by the great Sammy Cohn, and Dianne’s first-ever recording does it justice.

One of keyboardists Billy Childs, Mulgrew Miller, or George Duke plays on each of the included compositions, and 9 of the 13 were also produced by George Duke. There is no lack of talent or beauty in this lovely aural history of Dianne Reeves recent career and one has only to listen to appreciate it.