Dianne Reeves

Art & Survival

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Versatility has gotten vocalist Dianne Reeves in trouble. Those who feel she could be a great jazz singer want her to stick to scat singing and interpreting show tunes; others who enjoyed the light fusion and urban contemporary hits prefer that she look toward the future. Reeves does a little of both on her this set. Art And Survival includes her most hard-hitting message songs to date. The only problem is that Reeves' voice doesn't lend itself to shouts or expressing defiance; she sounds strained on "Endangered Species" and seems more like she's presenting a diatribe than expounding on a theme. Overall, Art And Survival is neither '90s revisited bop nor overtly commercial Quiet Storm fodder. Dianne Reeves is really seeking a middle ground between her two audiences, and if everything here doesn't work, at least she keeps forging ahead.

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