She is intrinsically gifted, her voice makes for the soulful jazz harmony that has captivated so many. Dianne Reeves continues to move people with her music. She makes her first appearance at Fayetteville State University on April 27.
Reeves is performing at Fayetteville State’s Opus II: A Benefit for the Department of Performing and Fine Arts. Dr. Earnest Lamb, the department chair, is thrilled to have the jazz artist come to the benefit.
“She is a great singer. Period,” Lamb says. “Seeing her perform live should be on everyone’s bucket list.”
“She is a world class jazz singer who has won Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings … a Grammy first in any vocal category,” said Lamb.
Reeves’ stop in Fayetteville is just prior to her peformance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. This cultural festival lasts for 10 days, and is a celebration of the culture and music of New Orleans and Louisiana. Not only does the festival feature lots of jazz and blues, but it also features everything from folk, to Latin to rap to country. The festival is held from April 27 to May 6.
“We are fortunate that she could fit FSU into her schedule,” Lamb said. Reeves’ career dates back to her high school years, where she performed in a big band. The band had their talents showcased at a music festival, where they won fi rst place.
Before moving to Los Angeles, Calif., in 1976, the artist studied at the University of Colorado. Reeves experimented with different genres of music and developed a keen interest in Latin American music. She knew that she wanted to pursue a music career and had the opportunity to audition for the group Caldera, a band that was known for fusing rock, jazz and funk with Latin music. From singing in Billy Child’s jazz band Flight Night to touring with Sergio Mendes, Reeves has been able to work with many talented artists.
Reeves sang lead while touring with Harry Belafonte. She was the first ever vocalist to be signed to the Blue Note/EMI label. She won four Grammy awards for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
The Opus II benefit begins at 7 p.m., in the Seabrook Auditorium on the campus of Fayetteville State University.
“There will be a Performing and Fine Arts Showcase featuring a silent auction of works by FSU faculty and students,” Lamb explains. “Also look for performances by two of our best vocal ensembles Mane Attraction and Men of Distinction and, of course, our faculty jazz band.”
Lamb is also hoping that Chancellor Anderson will join them for a selection or two.
Last year’s feature performer for the Opus I benefit was the Dance Theatre of Harlem, a leading institution of dance.
“All proceeds for the benefi t will contribute to the scholarship endowment for performing and fine arts students,” Lamb says.
The benefit is open to the public. Lamb noted that ticket sales are brisk, so it is important to get your tickets early. General admission is $30 and $10 for students with ID. For more information about the benefit, call 672-1724.
Photo: Dianne Reeves to perform at FSU fundraiser.