Credit: Risasi Dais

On the weekend eve of Valentine’s Day, the incomparable jazz singer Dianne Reeves thrilled the sold-out audience in the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center with a magnificent romantic performance.

From the outset, Reeves, pre-eminent jazz vocalist and 2018 NEA Jazz Master who will be honored in April at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., stepped onstage in the Rose Theater possessing the aura of royalty as the diverse audience stood applauding before she sang a single note.

In a jazz career that has spanned more than 30 years, Reeves has created 18 recordings and won five Grammy Awards. She has often been compared with legendary jazz singers Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Abbey Lincoln. And as much as all of the aforementioned singers were truly amazing masters of their own individual vocalizing styles, it is obvious that Reeves has been greatly influenced by all of them, but creating her own unique phrasing, scatting and singing style while swaying onstage to Brazilian/African up-tempo dance rhythms.

A favorite singer at the White House, she performed there on various occasions during President Obama’s term, including the state dinner for the president of China and the Governors’ Ball.

Despite the vastness of the Rose Theater, Reeves transformed her performance into an intimate one as she spoke sincerely of her recent health challenges that had her in bed at a friend’s home in Austin, Texas, recuperating from surgery. She shared that during 30-plus years of traveling, performing and recording, she had neglected to get sufficient rest. Hopefully now, she will take the time to do so. She is an incomparable, treasured jazz icon who creates dynamic, romantic and positive music that we hope to hear and see for many years to come.