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Dianne Reeves Biography

Home > Music > R > Reeves, Dianne > Biography

Genres: Jazz, Pop, Seasonal, Soundtracks, Vocals

Dianne Reeves (born October 23, 1956) is an American jazz singer from Detroit, Michigan. Reeves was born into a musical family. Her father, who died when she was two years old, was also a singer. Her mother, Vada Swanson, played trumpet. A cousin, George Duke, was a well-known piano and keyboard player and record producer. Dianne and her sister Sharon were raised by their mother in Denver, Colorado. As a child, Reeves took piano lessons and sang at every opportunity. When she was 11 years old, her interest in music was enhanced by an inspiring teacher who thought that music was the best way to bring students together. Dianne discovered a love of music and that she wanted to be a singer.

At the age of 16, Reeves was singing at the George Washington High School (Denver) in a high school big-band. That same year, the band played at a music festival (Convention of the National Association of Jazz Educators where her band won first place, and it was there she met the trumpeter Clark Terry, who became her mentor.

A year later, Reeves began studying music at the University of Colorado before she moved in 1976 to Los Angeles. While there, her interest in Latin-American music grew. She began experimenting with different kinds of vocal music, and finally decided to pursue a career as a singer. She met Eduardo del Barrio, toured with his group Caldera, and sang in Billy Childs' jazz band, Night Flight. Later, she toured with Sérgio Mendes.

In 1982 her debut album, “Welcome to My Love,” was released. From 1983 until 1986, Reeves toured with Harry Belafonte as a lead singer. This period saw her first experiences with world music. In 1987, Reeves was the first vocalist signed to the re-activated Blue Note/EMI label.

In 1992, Reeves moved from Los Angeles back to Denver. Her album, “In the Moment – Live In Concert,” was issued in 2000 and won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2001. Reeves earned her second consecutive Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her performance on her 2001 LP, “The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan.” Released in 2003, her album “A Little Moonlight” won Reeves her third consecutive Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

A small jazz combo featuring Reeves was hired to record the soundtrack to the 2005 film, Good Night, and Good Luck.” The combo (Peter Martin, Christoph Luty, Jeff Hamilton and Matt Catingub) was featured in the movie in several scenes. The film’s soundtrack won the Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Reeves’ fourth consecutive win in that category.

Reeves made her debut on the Concord Records label in 2014 with the release of her album, “Beautiful Life.” The album was produced by Terri Lyne Carrington and included guest appearances by Richard Bona, Gerald Clayton, George Duke, Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway, Gregory Porter and Esperanza Spalding.