Dianne Reeves

In the Moment: Live in Concert

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Dianne Reeves struck the high point of the first day of ~the 1999 Playboy Jazz Festival at ~the Hollywood Bowl, finding a groove and running with it toward a swinging, stomping climax. Naturally then, anticipation ran high about this live recording, made only seven months later in the same city with the same Afro-Latin-accented backup band. What we get, though, is a different -- and mixed -- bag, an intimate, more musically varied concert before only 300 or 400 invited listeners in Los Angeles's ~S.I.R. Sound Stage instead of 17,600 party animals in ~the Bowl. Reeves is in commanding, assured voice throughout the session, roaming from genre to genre without a hint of unease. There is a lot of autobiography here ("The First Five Chapters," "The Best Times"), where Reeves sounds as if she is making the stories up on the spot; she isn't, but the illusion of spontaneity is convincing if you play along with her. While Reeves' cousin George Duke kicked the ~Playboy gig into an even higher gear, here he makes only a single appearance on acoustic piano in the ballad "Come In" -- and it's a rather mild-mannered cameo, alas. There is a Brazilian set where she looks back to her days touring with Sergio Mendes with a freely-phrased "Triste" and a very intimate rendition of Milton Nascimento's "Bridges" with solo guitar. The following track - a hot Brazilian-flavored "Love For Sale" - does recapture a good deal of that mighty groove as heard in ~the Bowl, but "Afro-Blue" and the closing "Mista" don't come close. Make no mistake, this is a very good recording, but it had the ingredients to be a great one. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi