Performance Saturday, February 16, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Dianne Reeves and Friends

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Widely regarded as the foremost female jazz vocalist in the world today, Grammy winner Dianne Reeves brings her robust, sultry voice back to the Carnegie Hall stage, along with several special guests.


  • Dianne Reeves
  • With Special Guests:
    Esperanza Spalding
  • George Duke
  • Lalah Hathaway
  • Nadia Washington
  • Terri Lyne Carrington


  • Dianne Reeves

    Dianne Reeves is the preeminent jazz vocalist in the world today. As a result of her virtuosity, improvisational prowess, and unique jazz and R&B stylings, Reeves received the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings-a Grammy first in any vocal category.

    Reeves appeared in George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck-the Academy Award-nominated film that chronicles Edward R. Murrow's confrontation with Senator Joseph McCarthy. The soundtrack recording provided Reeves her fourth Best Jazz Vocal Grammy in 2006.

    Reeves has recorded and performed extensively with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. She has also recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Reeves was the Los Angeles Philharmonic's first creative chair for jazz and the first singer to ever perform at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

    Reeves worked with legendary producer Arif Mardin on the Grammy-winning A Little Moonlight, an intimate collection of standards that was released in 2003. In 2007, she was featured in an award-winning documentary on the all-too-brief life of Billy Strayhorn. Her first solo album in several years, When You Know, was released in 2008. Since then, she has been touring the world in a variety of contexts, including Sing the Truth!-a musical celebration of Nina Simone that features Lizz Wright and Angelique Kidjo. Reeves is also at work on a new album, which is being produced by Terri Lyne Carrington.

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  • Esperanza Spalding

    From the beginning of her life to her current success as a creative musician, Esperanza Spalding has charted her own course. The young bassist-vocalist-composer was one of the biggest breakout stars of 2011-not just in jazz, but in all genres of music. Her receipt of the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist was unprecedented-the first time a jazz musician had won the award.

    After a move to attend Berklee College of Music and three years of accelerated study, Spalding not only earned her degree, but also signed on as an instructor in 2005 at the age of 20-an appointment that has made her one of the youngest faculty members in the history of the college. It was also at Berklee that Spalding had the opportunity to perform with many jazz icons, including pianist Michel Camilo, singer Patti Austin, guitarist Adam Rogers, and saxophonists Donald Harrison and Joe Lovano.

    Spalding has gone through several phases, which have been well documented during her brief recording career. Her journey as a solo artist began with the 2006 release of Junjo, which featured pianist Aruán Ortiz and drummer Francisco Mela. She presented the many different sides of her writing on Esperanza, her 2008 international debut that quickly topped Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Chart and became the year's bestselling album worldwide by a new jazz artist. Numerous awards and appearances followed, including an invitation by President Barack Obama to appear at both the White House and the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, and an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. Chamber Music Society from 2010 and the recently released Radio Music Society have made it clear that her initial triumphs were just the beginning.

    Spalding continues to spread her message around the globe. In addition to more than 110 Chamber Music Society concerts, she still found time to tour with Lovano's US 5, perform at Rock In Rio with Milton Nascimento, play at Prince's Welcome 2 America tour, and join Wayne Shorter in celebrating Herbie Hancock's 70th birthday at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

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  • George Duke

    The scope of keyboardist-composer-producer George Duke's imprint on jazz and pop music over the past 40 years is almost impossible to calculate. He has collaborated with some of the most prominent figures in the industry. A producer since the 1980s, he has crafted scores of fine recordings-many of them Grammy winners-for artists who represent almost every corner of the contemporary American music landscape.

    Duke has experimented with jazz and fusion by collaborating and performing with artists as diverse as Jean Luc-Ponty, Frank Zappa, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Cobham, and Stanley Clarke. Possibly his best-loved album, Brazilian Love Affair was released in 1980, featuring vocals by Flora Purim and Milton Nascimento, and percussion by Airto Moreira.

    Throughout the 1980s and '90s, Duke made his mark as a versatile producer by helping to craft recordings by a broad cross-section of jazz, R&B, and pop artists: Miles Davis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Taste of Honey, Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, Melissa Manchester, Al Jarreau, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, Take 6, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker, Lyle Lovett, Sarah Vaughan, Rachelle Ferrell, Natalie Cole, Dianne Reeves, Smokie Norful, Najee, and many others.

    In 2000, Duke launched BPM (Big Piano Music), his own record label. Even with the new responsibilities and challenges, he has continued to juggle the multiple career tracks of recording solo albums, international touring, and producing records for other artists. In addition to his own Face the Music (2002), he has also produced tracks for Wayman Tisdale, Dianne Reeves, Kelly Price, Regina Belle, and Marilyn Scott.

    For the better part of 25 years, Duke has composed and recorded numerous scores for film and television. In addition to nine years as the musical director for Soul Train, he also wrote music for The Five Heartbeats; The Karate Kid, Part III; Leap of Faith; Good Fences; Never Die Alone;  and The Meteor Man.

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  • Lalah Hathaway

    Born to R&B-soul music royalty, most people know her simply as the daughter of late music legend Donny Hathaway. But there is more to Lalah Hathaway than that. A trained pianist and vocalist, she is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a career that has spanned two decades. More than 20 years after the release of her first LP, her career continues to thrive.

    In 1990, Hathaway made her debut on Virgin Records with a self-titled album, effortlessly fusing elements of R&B, jazz, and pop. It was evident that she not only had the voice, but the talent to carry on her father's legacy while shaping her own musical destiny. In 1994, Hathaway released A Moment in which she explored diverse musical sounds, including elements of new jack swing and funk, while never shying away from her soul and jazz roots.

    Hathaway continues to keep busy by recording and touring with various artists, including George Benson, Take 6, Marcus Miller, Rahsaan Patterson, Mary J. Blige, The Winans, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, David Sanborn, Carl Thomas, Angie Stone, Robert Glasper, Donald Lawrence, Eric Roberson, Grover Washington, Esperanza Spalding, and Prince.

    In 2004, the long awaited album Outrun the Sky was released, yielding the number-one single "Forever, For Always, For Love." In 2008, she released her fourth solo album, Self Portrait, on the renowned Stax label, which debuted in the top 10 on Billboard's R&B charts and earned Hathaway her first Grammy nomination. Her fifth studio album, Where It All Begins, was released in 2011.

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  • Nadia Washington

    Nadia Washington is among the prominent artists who connect the lines between music's heart and soul. With influences that range from Queen to Yolanda Adams, and-most significantly-her mother Nelda Washington, Nadia is continuing to nurture and hone her unique sound.

    Born and raised in Dallas, Washington's first performance was at the age of five before an audience of 5,000. At the age of 15, she was accepted to the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, which provided her with opportunities to perform on the national stage. She went on to win two DownBeat Student Music Awards and one from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Soon after, she was accepted to Boston's Berklee College of Music on a Bill Cosby Presidential Scholarship.

    Washington has performed with such notable artists as Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, and Ralph Peterson, touring along the East Coast in their respective ensembles. She has appeared as a guest vocalist for many occasions, including a musical tribute to Dave Brubeck in 2007. She was also a featured artist in the 2008 Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan and Jazz Festival.

    Shortly thereafter, Washington played the role of Billie Holiday in the musical Love and Hunger: Tribute to Billie Holiday with special guest Dee Dee Bridgewater. She also appeared as a guest vocalist on gospel artist Greg O'Quin's After the Storm in 2009. Most recently, Washington had the opportunity to sing with legendary jazz pianist Kenny Barron in the 2010 commencement ceremony at Berklee College of Music.

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  • Terri Lyne Carrington

    Grammy Award-winning drummer, composer, and bandleader, Terri Lyne Carrington has had an extensive touring career of more than 20 years with such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Cassandra Wilson, Clark Terry, and Dianne Reeves. She recently returned to her hometown of Boston, where she was appointed professor at her alma mater, Berklee College of Music.

    Carrington's production and songwriting work has included collaborations with Gino Vannelli, Peabo Bryson, Dianne Reeves, Siedah Garrett, and Marilyn Scott. She also performed on Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning Gershwin's World alongside Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder.

    Joining Carrington on her 2008 release More to Say … was an impressive all-star cast of jazz and contemporary jazz instrumentalists, including George Duke, Everette Harp, Kirk Whalum, Jimmy Haslip, Greg Phillinganes, Gregoire Maret, Christian McBride, Danilo Pérez, Patrice Rushen, Robert Irving III, Chuck Loeb, Tineke Postma, Ray Fuller, Dwight Sills, Anthony Wilson, and Les McCann, plus a special appearance by her dad, Sonny Carrington.

    Carrington released The Mosaic Project in July 2011, gathering a myriad of artists and crystallized them into a multifaceted whole that far outweighed the sum of its parts. She produced the 14-song set that featured some of the most prominent female jazz musicians of the last few decades: Dianne Reeves, Esperanza Spalding, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sheila E., Nona Hendryx, Cassandra Wilson, Geri Allen, and several others.

    Earlier this month, Carrington released Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, her homage to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach that coincides with the 50th anniversary of the release of their iconic 1963 Money Jungle album.

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Just My Imagination
Dianne Reeves
Blue Note

Jeff Tamarkin on Dianne Reeves

Some artists let superlatives go to their heads, but when Dianne Reeves sees the words "greatest living female jazz singer" attached to her name—which, let there be no doubt, is quite often—she just shrugs it off. "I don't even react," says the four-time Grammy-winning vocalist. "What's most important to me is my measure of myself, and that doesn't find its way into the clouds so often as I'm a person who always aspires to be ... better. I always say, 'Take what you have, define it, refine it, respect it, and protect it.'"

That individualism is vital to Reeves's ongoing evolution as an artist. More than 35 years after the release of her debut album, Reeves, who originally hails from Detroit, has continued to shift into new directions, setting new challenges for herself at every turn. Since her earliest days, and particularly since signing with Blue Note Records in 1987, she has blurred the lines between jazz, pop, R&B, world music, and other genres. Her dynamic range is unmatched, and her curiosity and charisma are boundless. Whether recording a tribute to Sarah Vaughan—one of her major influences, alongside Carmen McRae and Ella Fitzgerald—the soundtrack to George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck, or delving into the music of Brazil, Dianne Reeves makes the music her own. For Reeves, forward motion is at the heart of artistic integrity.

"As life changes, you add new things that have influenced you or washed over you," she says. "I love what I do, and I love the fact I can work with so many different kinds of musicians. I'm somewhat of a musical chameleon, so I just look to the future to see what's next."

What's next is a new album, her first since 2008's When You Know. Reeves has been in the studio of late, working on new music, about which she is keeping her lips sealed for now. But a hint will be provided during the singer's February 16 Carnegie Hall concert. Another key to Reeves's next direction might be gleaned from Sing the Truth!, a fabulous trio that finds her singing songs of female empowerment with fellow dynamos Lizz Wright and Angelique Kidjo.

Wherever her music heads next, one thing is certain: When she hits the stage, Dianne Reeves will have any audience in the palm of her hand. Immediately. Performing for her fans remains what she loves best—it's where she is most in her element. "I love being in the studio, but in live performance there's no going back," she says. "It's in the moment; I'm most comfortable getting ready to jump off the edge."

—Jeff Tamarkin is the associate editor ofJazzTimes magazine.

This performance is part of Around the Globe, and My Playlist - Students.