Dianne Reeves, the seasoned maestro of jazz, is still in awe after snagging the Best Jazz Vocal Performance award at this month’s Grammys.
After nine nominations and five Grammys, “it’s pretty amazing,” says Reeves, 58, who’s been performing nearly a half century.
The music, and her success, keep the fire burning.
“Each project that you do is something you believe in for that moment in time,” says Reeves, who sings Friday night in “Soul 2 Soul: Voices of Love,’ a Black History Month program in the Jazz Roots series at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. She’ll share the stage with 2007 SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards winner Phil Perry.
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Reeves has been pressing her way as a premier jazz vocalist and, in earlier days, a master of the improvisational art form of scatting.
“Each project that you do is something you believe in for that moment in time,” says Reeves, who lives in Denver.
Beautiful Life, Reeves’ first album in more than five years, was the result of an “old school meets new school” venture that put her in the midst of a project with jazz juggernauts including Gregory Porter and Esperanza Spalding.
The final product, as Reeves calls it, was a result of different “generations of jazz coming together, staying together and making good music.”
Reeves’ playlist will include songs from Beautiful Life. The concert will be an ode to jazz vocalists with church upbringings, including Billie Holiday.
“Oddly enough, I was introduced to her music very early on, but it wasn’t until much later when I would come to appreciate it,” Reeves says. “I didn’t get it. It was deep and full of life experience and didn’t have anything to relate her too early on.”
The Beautiful Life project was a result of that fascination.
Robert Glasper, the neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, gospel, and R&B-influenced Grammy-winning pianist and producer, learned Reeves was beginning work on Beautiful Life and by Twitter suggested they somehow work together. The two bonded over their mutual love for the Fleetwood Mac song, Dreams.
Reeves laughs at their coming together. “I didn’t even know he knew Dreams,” she says.
Beautiful Life contains a Dreams cover with piano by Glasper. “He sent me a demo, and I was like ‘Oh my God. This is incredible,’” Reeves says. “You really have to love this evolution, this new thing that they’re doing. The fact that they invite you in creates the most incredible exchange of ideas.”
Album producer Terri Lyne Carrington, a teacher at Berkeley College of Music in Boston, introduced Reeves to a few standout students who eventually collaborated on Beautiful Life.
Conceptually, the album was uncharted territory. “I just knew what I wanted to do, I didn’t know where I wanted to go,” Reeves says.
If you go
Dianne Reeves and Phil Perry perform in Jazz Roots’ ‘Soul 2 Soul: Voices of Love,’ 8 p.m. Friday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts’ John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami. Tickets $25 to $125. 305-949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org.