2015 Honoree: Arts and Humanities
Dianne Reeves is one of the pre-eminent jazz vocalists in the world. She is a five-time Grammy winner who received the award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance on three consecutive recordings—a Grammy first in any vocal category. Ms. Reeves has recorded 20 albums, has contributed to countless recordings of diverse musical genres and tours regularly around the world to sell-out audiences. Her exquisite and unique melding of jazz, R&B, Latin and pop has garnered millions of fans and critical acclaim.
Born in Detroit to a musical family, Ms. Reeves moved to Denver at a young age-which is still to this day her home. She attended George Washington High School and studied music at the University of Colorado. Her interest and experimentation with different musical idioms led her to perform and tour with the group Caldera, as well as with Sergio Mendes and Harry Belafonte. In 1982 Ms. Reeves began recording as a leader, and became a regular at major jazz festivals. She was the first vocalist signed to the re-activated Blue Note label in 1987.
Ms. Reeves has recorded and performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, who said, “Dianne has one of the most powerful, purposeful and accurate voices of this or any time.” Ms. Reeves has also recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. She was the first Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the first singer to ever perform at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Ms. Reeves appeared throughout George Clooney’s award winning film Good Night and Good Luck and performed every song on the Grammy-winning soundtrack. She received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music, sang at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, and has performed at the White House on multiple occasions. This past December she headlined The New York Philharmonic’s Annual New Year’s Eve Concert, and later this month she will be receiving an honorary doctorate from Juilliard.
Ms. Reeves is an extraordinary artist who truly believes in the transformative power of music. In talking about her recent Grammy-award winning album Beautiful Life, Ms. Reeves says, “At its essence, life is beautiful, and I wanted to celebrate that which is too often overlooked.” It is impossible to overlook Ms. Reeves’ incredible talent and accomplishments. As a vocalist, her technical virtuosity is unsurpassed. As a person, she is warm, genuine and a joy to be around-and we hear, an amazing cook! Ms. Reeves performs in Colorado often, and as recently as last year appeared with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.