Dianne Reeves brings powerful performance to Craftsmen's Guild

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It may be only May, but the first of two Dianne Reeves concerts held in the Jazz Hall at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on Saturday could be the show of the year.

The Kansas City-born vocalist, backed by a versatile and virtuosic trio, embodied the spirit of jazz, adding her own twists to not only some standards but even throwing in some 1970s pop for good measure.

She nailed everything, her voice so powerful that she could clearly be heard even when 6 inches away from the mic. I can't highlight any particular moment.

It was the first concert I've ever seen at the Guild where the audience gave not one but two standing ovations before it ended.

The show opened with an instrumental and, for my purposes, pedestrian

rendition of "Summertime," with pianist Peter Martin playing some delicate lines that almost whispered.

Ms. Reeves' first song was a rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," which is certainly not part of the standard jazz repertoire but still worth listening to -- and perhaps for that reason. Reginald Veal added a tasty electric bass solo and he, Mr. Martin and drummer Terreon Gully even contributed background vocals. The ensemble followed with a ??-meter rendition of "Stormy Weather," with Ms. Reeves' vocalizing powerful and effortless.

"One For My Baby, One For the Road" started with an acoustic bass solo from Mr. Veal and ended with block chords from Mr. Martin. And the first "standing O."

Ms. Reeves told a humorous story about meeting Sarah Vaughan before moving into "Misty," which she did with just Mr. Martin backing her; they modulated a half-step up three times before ending in its original key. That also brought the crowd to its feet.

The show closed with "I Can Only Give You Love," which she used to introduce the band. Yeah, she sang that one, too. Surprisingly, however, there was no encore.



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