Any doubts about the future of vocal jazz were dispelled Wednesday night at the Vine St. Bar & Grill. Dianne Reeves, whose recorded career has led her far astray from the jazz norm, showed during her opening set that she indeed could carry the banner for a new generation of jazz singers.
"This is what I like to do," Reeves told her audience, almost apologetically, "Sing some jazz."
Though many of her jazz efforts have been forestalled by steady concert work with Sergio Mendes and Harry Belafonte, the stunningly attractive Reeves took advantage of the intimacy of the Vine St. to sing a few standards and take a few risks with some adventurous new music.
Everything she did, from the classic "Our Love Is Here to Stay," taken at a breakneck tempo, to the spectacular Max Roach-Abbey Lincoln piece, "Freedom Day," worked like a charm.
There is no one thing that Reeves does best. Blessed with an extraordinary voice and a disarming stage personality, Reeves perfectly intoned Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good" and made Rodgers and Hart's "My Funny Valentine" an exclusive signature piece with the unique incorporation of swing, funk and the blues.