June 2005

Dianne Reeves - Live in Montreal
Image Entertainment ID2802ZIDVD Format: DVD
Released: 2005

by Eric Hetherington

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ***
Image Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Live in Montreal documents Dianne Reeves's first appearance at the Montreal Jazz Festival, where she was backed by a quartet: Otmaro Ruiz on keyboards, Reginald Veal on bass, Roscoe Bryant on drums and Munyungo Jackson on percussion. The music is straight-ahead jazz with Jackson’s percussion bringing along a Latin vibe that the on-screen audience responds to with joy.

The set list includes jazz standards, originals by Reeves and contemporary songs that are introduced into the jazz idiom. Reeves’s duet with Veal on Duke Ellington’s "Mood Indigo," perhaps the standout track of the set, allows both musicians to shine and puts a fresh face on this beautiful tune. The updating of standards continues on songs like George Gershwin’s "Summertime" and Cole Porter’s "Love for Sale." Songs like "Nine" show off Reeves’s compositional skills as well as her accomplished vocals. Jazz artists have always expanded the jazz canon with contemporary songs from other genres; Reeves’s jazz rendition of Peter Gabriel’s "In Your Eyes" is a success.

The video is good, with warm colors and clear images. It is complemented by cinematography based on subtle transitions rather than the fast cuts and effects from which many concert videos suffer. The 5.1 DTS soundtrack is preferable to the Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 mixes. The DTS soundtrack has more articulate highs and better reproduces an immersive, three-dimensional environment.

People stuck on the Diana Krall/Norah Jones bandwagon would do well to expand their appreciation of female vocalists with this DVD. The audio and video are good, and the concert stands up to repeat viewing, after which you’ll likely be looking for Reeves’s CDs.