Dianne Reeves’ recent album, Beautiful Life, won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album! Reeves was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a musical family. Her father, who died when she was two years old, was also a singer. Her mother, Vada Swanson, played trumpet. A cousin, George Duke, was a well-known piano and keyboard player and record producer. Dianne and her sister Sharon were raised by their mother in Denver, Colorado. As a child, Dianne took piano lessons and sang at every opportunity. When she was eleven years old, her interest in music was enhanced by an inspiring teacher who thought that music was the best way to bring students together. Dianne discovered a love of music and that she wanted to be a singer.

Her uncle, Charles Burrell, a bass player with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, introduced her to the music of jazz singers, from Ella Fitzgerald to Billie Holiday. She was especially impressed by Sarah Vaughan.

At the age of 16, Reeves was singing in her high school big-band at the George Washington High School in Denver. That same year, the band played at a music festival (Convention of the National Association of Jazz Educators). Her band won first place, and it was there she met the trumpeter Clark Terry, who became her mentor.

A year later, Reeves began studying music at the University of Colorado before she moved in 1976 to Los Angeles. While there, her interest in Latin American music grew. She began experimenting with different kinds of vocal music, and finally decided to pursue a career as a singer. She met Eduardo del Barrio, toured with his group Caldera, and sang in Billy Childs’ jazz band, Night Flight. Later, she toured with Sérgio Mendes.

From 1983 until 1986, Reeves toured with Harry Belafonte as a lead singer. This period saw her first experiences with world music. In 1987, Reeves was the first vocalist signed to the re-activated Blue Note/EMI label.

In 1992, Reeves moved from Los Angeles back to Denver, where she still lives. She sang at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Reeves’ musical director and arranger, Peter Martin, regularly tours with her.

Get a copy of this incredible album and check it out to see what the fuss is about:

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We had lots of fun at the COMBO Grammy Watching Party on Sunday, February 8th at the Sie Film Center! Winner of the Grand Prize of a Musician’s Emergency Kit was Nataliya Johnson, wife of Johnny Johnson of Innervision! The kit consisted of three sets of strings for guitars, drumsticks, picks, shakers, and more from SoundTown, 1233 West Alameda Avenue in Denver (just west of I-25 on Alameda).

Winner of the second place Grand Prize – a literal Gift Bag of all of the treats available at the Sie Film Center was COMBO member, Geano “Uncle Ewe”.

Lots of other prizes including notebooks from SESAC and autographed swag from NARAS were won by the attendees. And $10 gift cards from Sie were given out as well. This was neat because Brooke & Britta Dodgen (“The Redheads”) won two and so did their mom Donna! Poor dad didn’t get one so that means GIRLS NIGHT OUT for the Dodgen family!

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Join Colorado State Representative Rhonda Fields at the State Capitol to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of Black Cowboys and Buffalo Soldiers, farmers and ranchers. We will not forget how Black cowboys helped settle the American West and worked to pioneer the frontier cattle industry. It was the black cowboy who broke the horses and herded the cattle across the rivers.

The Buffalo Soldiers will be posting the colors for the morning session, and COMBO member Rudy Grant will be singing the National Anthem.

We recognize the life of the black cowboy was tougher than most. In recognition of their achievements, we celebrate our Black Cowboys and Buffalo Soldiers during Black History Month at the State Capitol.

When: Friday, February 20, 2015
Time:  9:00 a.m. – Program Commences
Where:  Colorado State Capitol, 200 E. Colfax, Denver, CO

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