Dianne Reeves gives an awe-inspiring performance at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts

 UConn welcomes Dianne Reeves to Jorgenson for the first time Saturday night. Reeves told the audience to feel free to clap their hands and shout. (Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus)

UConn welcomes Dianne Reeves to Jorgenson for the first time Saturday night. Reeves told the audience to feel free to clap their hands and shout. (Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus)

Five-time Grammy winner and jazz artist Dianne Reeves shook Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Feb. 17 with her thundering vocals and contagious personality.

“You can clap your hands, stomp your feet, shout out loud or dance down the aisles. It’s okay. Just don’t hurt yourself,” Reeves told the crowd of students and locals sitting in the cabaret setting. “Be free with me.”

Reeves performed a variety of old and new jazz styles including standard, bossa nova and contemporary during the show that ran about two hours.

The Dianne Reeves Quartet consisting of Peter Martin, pianist; Peter Sprague, guitarist; Reginald Veal, bassist; and Terreon Gully, drummer, helped Reeves’ songs come to life.

Steven of West Hartford says that he “particularly liked the balance of the four performers.” He compared Reeves’ performance to a drum show he had previously seen in Jorgensen saying that “the sound of a live performance [has] improved.”

Reeves’s lighthearted performance of “Nine” energized the crowd as the instruments’ sound intensified and she told a story about her childhood.

“I remember days of playing without a care. Then coming home with sniffles and clothes hanging off me with leaves in my hair,” Reeves sang. “Everybody’s child belonged to the neighborhood. You could tell your troubles to Aunt Savannah ‘cause she always understood.”

Jorgensen was one of Reeve’s many stops lately.

Recently, she toured with “Sing the Truth,” a musical celebration of Nina Simone featuring Lizz Wright, an American jazz and gospel vocalist, and Angélique Kidjo, singer-songwriter.

She has performed at the White House for President Obama’s State Dinner for the President of China and the Governor’s Ball.

Reeves also has experience with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

All of Reeves’ hard work and performances have led her to win Grammys and make history at the same time.

A first in Grammy history, Reeves has won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings. Additionally, she won Best Jazz Performance for her most recent release “Beautiful Life” in 2015.

“She didn’t come across as better than anyone else. For being in the business for so many years, she was humble. She wasn’t a diva,” Sheila of Newington said. “I appreciated her humanness and her talent,.”

Steven added saying, “She seemed very sincere having gone through a difficult period in her life that she shared with everyone. I think she grew a new opinion of herself and the world following her life event.”

To close the show, Reeves shared that she had surgery at the beginning of the year for a “health situation” that would require her to “do nothing” to recover, something that she was not used to doing after 40 years in the business. However, this one experience changed her life.

“It was really amazing because once I just settled down and started listening to the peacefulness, joy and light in the silence through the day, I could just feel myself getting better and better,” Reeves said.

She has implemented this practice into her life, even after recovery, and it has led to a more balanced life.

Reeves encouraged her audience to sit back and enjoy the silence, especially as our country experiences tragedy and controversy.

To close the show, Reeves performed a song dedicated to her audience.

“I’m amazed by all your strength. I am. And I’m grateful you come through. So I take this time to stop a moment and show my gratitude for you.”


Jamiah Bennett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at jamiah.bennett@uconn.edu.