We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


From the early ’80s through the late ’90s, vocalist Dianne Reeves was something of a paradox. In clubs and concert halls, her singing was inspired, filled with warmth and spontaneity, but on tape, Reeves’ producers failed to capture the vitality of her live performances. Caught in limbo between pop and jazz, overly cautious and excessively calculated, her CDs suggested that she felt uncomfortable in the clinical ambience of recording studios, inhibited by the awareness that each note she produced was being preserved for posterity. It wasn’t until her 2000 Grammy-nominated In the Moment—Live in Concert that Reeves finally translated the excitement and expressiveness of her live performances to disc. Her rich, flexible voice embraced a varied repertoire including standards, Brazilian compositions, originals, and even an autobiographical rap. She followed this breakthrough effort with The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan (nominated last week for a 2001 Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy), a lushly produced tribute to Sassy. Reeves’ singing isn’t as innovative or as powerful as Vaughan’s, but in some ways she’s a more disciplined artist, one who pays closer attention to lyric content and who keeps her vibrato under control. Even though some of the album’s orchestral arrangements are overbearing, Reeves’ singing throughout the Blue Note release is consistently accomplished, especially her thoughtful interpretations of Kurt Weill’s “Speak Low” and Dori Caymmi’s “Obsession.” Reeves will perform selections from these CDs, backed by pianist Peter Martin, bassist Reuben Rogers, drummer Gregory Hutchinson, and percussionist Munyungo Jackson at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. $27. (202) 467-4600. (Joel E. Siegel)