Dianne Reeves is one of the finest jazz singers on the planet. Born in Detroit, she grew up in Denver in a family full of musicians.
"There's a lot of musicians in my family," Reeves said. "My uncle is a bassist and he was with the symphony for many years, as well as a jazz bassist. A couple of great aunts were performers, and then I have another cousin who actually produced a lot of my records, George Duke. So music was very much part of the family."
Reeves started singing seriously in junior high, taking vocal lessons and joining the school choir.
"I remember walking down the hall in passing period in school and thinking I've always heard 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket,' but I am. Because I loved it. I loved how singing made me feel and I loved how I could communicate with people on this other level that I couldn't define."
For many years now Reeves has enjoyed a strong appreciation for, and association with, New Orleans musicians.
"I remember one time I was doing this thing with my guitarist Romero Lubambo from Brazil," she said. "We were working on this thing, and at the time Herlin Riley was in the band, and I remember I said 'You're going to love him, it's not going to be a problem,' and Humero just said 'My God, this is just like home.' I said 'Yeah, because he's from New Orleans.' It's just different. It's just an understanding and a feeling and a language that can be spoken everywhere."
Diane Reeves and her quartet play Jazz Fest on Sunday afternoon, April 28.