by Jeff Becker
Just in time for the Valentine season, Diane Reeves delivers with Beautiful Life. Set to release on February 11th, lovers are in for a treat. Produced by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington the album sports an all-star lineup including: bassists Esperanza Spalding and Richard Bona, vocalists Gregory Porter and Lalah Hathaway, pianists Robert Glasper and Gerald Clayton, and Reeves cousin and longtime collaborator George Duke, along with a few surprise guests.
Get ready to set the fireplace and candles, and turn on “I Want You,” featuring Sean Jones. Honey if your bones aren’t tingling after this tune, I can’t help you. Reeves is sensual and seductive; her voice is focused and tantalizing. I cannot recommend this track enough. Valentines, here I come.
A highlight is “Satiated (Been Waiting),” featuring Gregory Porter, begins as a soulful ballad. Both vocalists are equally paired and soulful, which makes for a glorious listen. There is nothing more magical than two masterful vocalists in a duet together playing off each other’s energy. The track with each passing line continues to build in its intensity vocally and musically. A key change adds to the lift of the tune and opens both vocalists to embellish in their upper register. Guitarists Marvin Sewell and Leandro Pelegrino, who by the way was the 2013 winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival Electric Guitar Competition flavor the track to its conclusion with tasty guitar work.
With a mix of selections taken from the music of Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, Ani DiFranco and more, Beautiful Life is a beautifully played, versatile in approach release that is a welcomed listen. Reeves certainly proves why she is so highly acclaimed. The album offers a nice mix of styles and top-shelf performances by one hell of a soulful vocalist.