Christmas Time Is Here
cookies baking, mistletoe overhead, and Christmas carols filling homes with
spirited holiday cheer.
Christmas practices follow tradition - picking out a tree from a
favorite lot, decorating trees with coveted ornaments, and cherishing
time with our families. In true Christmas spirit, Dianne Reeves
and co-producer/ pianist Peter Martin have put together a new album
well suited for spending yuletide by the fireside. In lieu of those
soggy, old Christmas records, why not opt for a spot of sonorous
Christmas Time Is Here leaves nothing to chance with relaxed
composition that tastefully transitions each song from one section
to the next. Reeves voice possesses a rich confidence akin
to Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. Her resolute
tone fits beautifully in the context of harmonies and counterpoints
provided by the rhythm section.
Reeves Christmas Time Is Here puts a little New Orleans
in the Little Drummer Boy, a lot of swing in Carol
of the Bells, and a bit of bossa on lesser known, but equally
enjoyable This Time of the Year. So often Reeves is
on the road during the holidays touring in Japan, Austria, or Berlin.
For this reason, Ill Be Home for Christmas often
holds a partly ironic meaning as she wishes to be home if
only in my dreams. Sometimes I am not home, but I always send my
heart and love to everybody.
For the past three years, Reeves has received Best Jazz Vocal Album
Grammy awards for In the Moment - Live in Concert (2000),
The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughn (2001), and A Little
Moonlight (2003). Impressively, Reeves is the only artist in
any genre to ever pull a hat trick, winning awards back-to-back-to-back
- clear evidence that the reinvigorated Bluenote/EMI record label
had some sharp ears when it signed Reeves as its first vocalist
back in 1987.
In addition to racking up Grammy recognition, Reeves has enjoyed
her two-year stint as the Los Angeles Philharmonics first
Creative Chair for Jazz. This privilege has had her curate jazz
performances for the Hollywood Bowl and The Walt Disney Concert
When performing at The Walt Disney Concert Hall a year ago, Reeves
was inspired to put together a Christmas album for the upcoming
year. I tried to approach it like an album and arrange songs
in a way so you could play them longer than Christmas, says
Her enormous voice carpets Christmas songs with the same bold preciseness
as on other works. Selecting songs to appear on the album was one
of the toughest challenges of the process. Some of the songs
Ive been acquainted with, but you dont really hear them
that often, explains Reeves. A Child is Born
is not really a Christmas song, but I thought it was befitting -
a Thad Jones composition.
Guitarist Romero Lubambo, saxophonist Steve Wilson, vibraphonist
Joe Locke, and the Sirius String Quartet accompany her along with
stalwarts Reuben Rogers and Gregory Hutchinson on bass and drums,
respectively. Each musician could have their own band,
Reeves says. Keeping this in mind, the arrangements tactfully account
for the musicians strong personalities.
We have so much trust. Ive never had a back-up band,
she comments. Recognizing her bandmates distinctive abilities
to be co-creators allows everyone involved to make a part his own
while collaborating to produce a cohesive group sound.
I try to at least paint pictures of what I have to address
in my life, she says. Im looking forward to the
down time and not having a schedule. She plans to spend Christmas
cooking desserts and delectable meals in her home in Denver and
spending time with her family while sharing her voice in other homes
via Christmas Time Is Here.
Christmas Time Is Here