The announcement of a concert by three-time Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves in Shanghai next week was definitely music to the ears of local jazz enthusiasts.
Reeves will bring with her nearly a dozen well-known songs, including the popular "Better Days," "Testify" and "Misty."
"She is one of my favorite singers," says Lee Kai Kwan, president of the Hong Kong Jazz Association, who wrote an review on her album years ago when she sang some pop tunes. "Reeves has a semi-dark but deep voice, her style is easy to recognize by her phrasing and altering of notes."
Lee holds the view that Reeves gives more when she is giving a live concert.
"In live performance she has a certain glamour and style that may not be totally original but is unique and charming," says Lee, who has been to two of Reeves' shows and has spoken with her.
"Good arrangements make a great difference to tunes," he says. "What Joe Williams said is quite right: 'She is diverse and unique in her own way'."
Considered as one of the world's best jazz vocalists, Reeves' singing is steeped in tradition. Her rhythmic virtuosity and improvisational ease are breathtaking.
Reeves has won an Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for each of her past three recordings - "A little Moonlight" (2003), "The Calling" (2001) and "In The Moment - Live in Concert" (2000).
The nobility of Reeves' singing is rooted in her childhood. Born in Detroit and raised in Denver, the United States, Reeves lost her father (who was also a singer) when she was just two. Her mother played the trumpet and one of her uncles, Charles Burrell, was as a bassist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
Further education came from cousin George Duke, a celebrated keyboardist and composer, who later became her producer. She has studied the piano since childhood.
"In her growing-up process, I think the late 1990s was the most crucial to her career," says Lee. "That's when she hooked up with drummer/producer Terri Lyne Carrington, and of course, with the Blue Note (label). Generally, picking the right songs can make a big difference to the album of any artist. In her case, Reeves did a great job on the rearrangement of Carole King and Cat Stevens numbers. This is when she really took off."
Reeves brought one of the biggest houses of her career to its feet with a spellbinding performance at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. She also sang for the 2002 season finale of the US hit television series, "Sex and the City."
Date: January 21, 7:30pm
Venue: Shanghai Concert Hall, 523 Yan'an Rd E.
Tickets: 100-600 yuan
Tel: 6386-2836, 6385-5933