Jazz singer Dianne Reeves has a way with picking a tune. She’s done expressive interpretations of songs like the chromatically curling “Midnight Sun” by Johnny Mercer and Lionel Hampton as well as more pop-leaning songs like Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” and Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”
Reeves has something in common with Roberta Flack in her ability to bring a poised sense of soulfulness and a jazz singer’s agility to popular songs. Like Ella Fitzgerald, Reeves radiates a sense of joy and swing in anything she sings. She also has an inspired way of approaching time, pulling back and letting open space create its own intensity within the music.
Reeves grew up in a musical family in Colorado, studying classical voice before moving to Los Angeles, where she eventually worked with artists like Stanley Turrentine and drummer Lenny White. She’s also worked with Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner and Solomon Burke. She’s been a bandleader for years as well. A performer who treats the stage as a sacred place, Reeves is a commanding presence.
Dianne Reeves performs at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, 2132 Hillside Road, Storrs, on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $45. 860-486-4226 or jorgensen.uconn.edu