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Music Review: Dianne Reeves – When You Know

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One does not have to be in love, in order to be in love with, "Love."

While such a statement could be brushed off as the whimsical declaration of a hopeless romantic, Dianne Reeves' When You Know proves this assertion as fact. When You Know showcases Love — from a woman's perspective — in all of her different stages, utilizing a dynamic assortment of old and new standards. Highlights include "Over the Weekend," "Windmills of Your Mind," (which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1968), and the album's namesake, "When You Know," which was prominently featured in the romantic comedy Serendipity (2001).

The album's true gem is "Today Will Be a Good Day," a Reeves' original that pays tribute to her mother, Vada Swanson. Rest assured, one does not have to be a jazz aficionado to appreciate When You Know. Because Love, as every human knows, is the force that inspires, unites and uplifts us all.

Dianne Reeve's vocal interpretations are brought to life with the support of master guitarists Russell Malone and Romero Lubambo, both of whom joined the Denver-bred chanteuse on her European "Strings Attached" tour. Of the ten tracks on When You Know, Malone plays on seven, while Lubambo plays on nine. Such a "bare bones" production — two guitars and a voice — would challenge the skills of many contemporary vocalists. Reeves voice soars though. Behind the power of her vocal and performance devices, producer George Duke sets the trajectory of each song beyond the moon.

Although jazz standards albums have become quite the cliché, When You Know contains some of Dianne Reeves' best work. With raw emotion and technical grace, she manages to make each song her own — a hard task to accomplish in the face of familiarity.

Reeves' take of "Lovin' You" avoids overuse of the whistle register for which Minnie Ripperton's number-one hit was very well-known. The unexpected twist does not detract from the original working however. It draws more focus to the song's lyrics, rather than the song's performance. Such changes are plentiful on When You Know and bear the mark of Reeve's signature styling.

When You Know covers nearly a half decade of vocal performances and highlights Reeves' versatility across different musical styles.

As a four-time GRAMMY winner, Dianne Reeves stands in a league of her own.

She is the only singer spanning across all music genres to win the vocal category for three consecutive recordings. To date, Reeves has been awarded "Best Jazz Vocal Performance" for In the Moment (2001), The Calling (2002), A Little Moonlight (2003), and the soundtrack to Good Night, and Good Luck (2006).

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About Clayton Perry