Bad news for Dianne Reeves fans —- especially those who have already purchased tickets to see her at the Lisner Auditorium June 12 as part of the DC Jazz Festival. Reeves has had what festival promoters describe as a “family medical emergency,” and has canceled not only her DC appearance but a substantial portion of her East Coast itinerary.
The good news is that in her place, DCJF is offering one of the District’s major homegrown talents/success stories: Roberta Flack.
Flack grew up in Arlington, attended Howard University, and at one time taught in the DC Public Schools while moonlighting as a singer at the old 1520 Club on K Street and Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill. She was discovered there by pianist Les McCann in 1968, after which he arranged for an audition at Atlantic Records, who signed Flack. Her 1972 recording of the folk tune “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” was Number One for six weeks that year, and would go on to become the Number One song of 1972. It was the first of three chart-toppers and six Top Ten singles, making Flack an R&B star.
Whether she can hold her own against fellow singer (and fellow Roberta) Roberta Gambarini, and the Roy Hargrove big band, is yet unknown.