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Artist: Dianne Reeves
Performance date: May 21, 1999
Publication: New York Post

New York Post; New York; May 21, 1999; CHIP DEFFAA;

Copyright New York Post Corporation May 21, 1999

IT'S been fascinating watching the way Dianne Reeves has, over the past two decades, gradually found her own identity.

If you haven't seen her for a while, head this week to the Blue Note; you'll feel nourished by this performance - it's the best she has to offer.

Reeves has always been blessed with a superb vocal instrument, a rich, kindly, three-octave contralto voice that's appealing even if she's just singing her greetings to the audience.

However, in a career marked by a lot of zigs and zags, missteps and do-overs, it wasn't always clear if she'd realize her capabilities or squander her talents - as so many other potentially great jazz singers have - in pursuit of slick commercialism.

But she now seems, at 43, more at peace with herself. She's chosen wisely and sounds as if she's singing things she believes in, which was not always true in early performances. Projecting a welcome sense of authenticity, she sounds like herself whether she's sharing with mystical intensity Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" (from 1968), a buoyant African number, an original, or memories from childhood that briefly take us back there.

Blue Note, 131 W. Third St., (212) 475-8592; $37.50 cover, $5 minimum; 9 and 11:30 p.m. Through Sunday.


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