“This is no longer Disney Hall,” joked vocalist Dianne Reeves as she began the 10th year anniversary show for the acoustically adroit theatre. “This is our living room,” she declared, as she turned the hall into an intimate setting in ways both via artistry and technically.
The quartet of Reeves, Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride and drummer Harvey Mason came on stage all bespeckled and dressed to impress, as Hancock began with a solo piano rumination which Reeves took as an intro to a passionate wordless vocal on “Lady Bug” that filled the hall with clarion high pitches and visceral deep calls. McBride’s moody bass line set the tone for Reeve’s abstract and ethereal “Stormy Weather,” sending the lovely lady off stage while the trio got into the Disney spirit, and as Hancock joked “messed with” a take of “When You Wish Upon A Star” that bopped, blues’d and back beat it with stellar results.
A duet between Hancock and Reeves on his composition “Manhattan” revealed both the strength of Reeves’ vocal capacity and of the Hall’s sensitivity, as without the help of any microphones the theatre was filled with her luminous rich and earthy tones. Her duet with McBride on “One For My Baby” had the audience finger snap along with McBride’s bass as the stage turned into a late hours saloon. The jazz trio came back into focus, continuing the apotheosis of sounds as Mason created a deep groove on “Speak Like a Child/Cantaloupe Island” which sounded modern even for 21st Century ears although the pieces are half a century old. Reeves came back on stage for the closing “Harvest Time” and “Chan’s Song” which set a standard, just like the celebrated Hall itself, of modern sounds that hit the heart, head and soul just right. A celebration worth celebrating.
Upcoming shows at Disney: Mar 15-60th Anniversary of Newport Jazz Festival with Anat Cohen and Randy Brecker, Apr 2-Joshua Redman Quartet w/ Brad Mehldau Trio
Photo: Craig Mathew/Mathew Imaging