Four-time Grammy award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves graced the stage of the Sovereign Performing Arts Center in Reading, Pennsylvania Friday night for the opening concert of Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest 2013. While in the presence of Miss Reeves, one is conscious of her skill. excellence in vocal art as it applies to jazz, and the extreme pride and pleasure she takes – and gives – in her work. There are those who can sing, those who can’t and those who become instruments in and of themselves. She represents the epitome of musical mastery.
Her smile can take center stage anytime.The anecdotes she tells are – well – noteworthy! To have the audience in the palm of your hand is one thing (she did) – to treat the three tiniest bones in the body to the best night they ever had is another (she can do that too.)
Miss Reeves wore a gold and turquoise or aqua gown, and her eyelids matched the blue that enhanced the dress. A sensible and stylish woman, she wore flat sandals with embellishment on the strap leading from right toe to ankle. The left sandal, which often peeked or poked out from the hem of her floor length gown, was more visible more often than the right, which stayed tucked away.
The Reading Symphony Orchestra, which accompanied Miss Reeves in addition to the vocalist’s own impeccable quartet on the drums, piano , bass and guitar, formed the musical backdrop and supporting musicians, including the harp. Neither programs nor written lists were supplied to the audience. A paper lay on the floor of the stage near Miss Reeve’s right throughout the concert.
A partial list of what was sung would include A Child Is Born, Embrace Me, and a Song Without Words. Miss Reeves was generous with her performance, and although the crowd asked for more, the voice is a delicate thing which requires both exercise and rest.
It is interesting that festival advertising and the local media kept her appearance so low-key. That a headliner’s name should need to be found between the lines allows a filtering of response, so that those in the know, knew and those who need not know would ever know.