Dianne Reeves - When You Know

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2008 European CD release.

Diane Reeves is blessed with a voice that has a beautiful, clear tone and phenomenal range. She has crystal clear diction, impeccable taste, and musical instincts built up over a long career in jazz. But even with all these advantages song choices are crucial. If there isn't enough in the songs to challenge a singer, the performance can overwhelm the material, and histrionics can substitute for emotional truth. Thankfully this doesn’t happen on this classy, almost flawless set of soul and pop covers.

It starts with a delightful version of The Temptation's Just My Imagination. Minnie Ripperton's Loving You (let's face it, not a particularly interesting song) is cunningly arranged to move through different key changes. Diane glides through them effortlessly with the grace of a swan through water and teases you by leaving that those famous stratospheric bird call vocals until right at the end. Throughout she's backed by musicians of the highest calibre (Billy Childs, George Duke who also produces).

There are two outstanding tracks. Normally I would give that hoary old chestnut Windmills Of Your Mind a wide berth. But guitarist Romero Lubambo conjures up a superb, cunning arrangement which manages to be both tasteful and dramatic. Spurred on, Diane turns the song's cliches into a moving examination of love lost, memories and regret. Lubambo also arranges the title track (he must surely take the credit for those wonderful chords) which is uplifting without being strident but still has real depth and power.

The album ends on an upbeat note with a jaunty country shuffle of Today Will Be A Good Day. Far too classy to be filed under 'easy', When You Know is simply great, subtle music for grown ups.

Nick Reynolds - BBC


SKU 09463896582
Barcode # 09463896582
Brand Blue Note Records

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