Dianne was the 2018 Monterey Jazz Festival’s Showcase Artist and performed in a variety of different contexts throughout the Festival’s 61st installment (September 21-23). Among the other headliners were Charles Lloyd, Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis and Jon Batiste. Also, on September 20th the Festival’s Jazz Legends Gala honored Dianne. The event was co-hosted by Christian McBride and Terri Lyne Carrington—with a special performance featuring the Christian McBride Trio with Benny Green and Gregory Hutchinson. Dianne is the first woman to receive the Jazz Legends Award. (Previous recipients are Dave Brubeck, Gerald Wilson, George Wein, Jack DeJohnette, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Chick Corea, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and Terence Blanchard.) As Dianne was quick to point out, she will surely not be the last and is merely the first of many.
THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS BESTOWS UPON DIANNE THE HIGHEST HONOR FOR JAZZ IN THE U.S.
— JAZZ MASTER
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters award is widely described as United States’ highest honor for jazz. In addition to Dianne, the 2018 Jazz Masters are pianist Joanne Brackeen, guitarist Pat Metheny and producer Todd Barkan. The new class was inducted in a tribute concert and ceremony at the Kennedy Center on April 16, 2018. Each inductee delivered remarks but did not perform — that task was left to colleagues and peers. Dianne performed at the 2017 induction celebration, as she paid tribute to her friend Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Dianne was recognized by The Juilliard School with an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts for her “breathtaking virtuosity, improvisational prowess, and unique jazz and R&B style.” She received the award at Julliard’s 110th Commencement Ceremony in Lincoln Center, along with Suzanne Farrell, Nicholas Hytner, Murray Perahia, and Peter Sellars.
Winner of the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2015, Beautiful Life showcases Dianne’s sublime gifts in what is a melding of R&B, Latin and pop elements within the framework of 21st Century jazz. “At its essence,” said Dianne, “Life is beautiful, and I wanted to celebrate that which is too often overlooked.” Beautiful Life features memorable covers of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” and Ani DiFranco’s self-empowering “32 Flavors.” The rest of the twelve tracks cover a spectrum from jazz to soul, along with two new emotionally volcanic songs, “Cold” and “Satiated.” Produced by Terri Lyne Carrington, Beautiful Life features an all-star cast including bassists Esperanza Spalding and Richard Bona, vocalists Gregory Porter and Lalah Hathaway, pianists Robert Glasper and Gerald Clayton and Reeves’ cousin and frequent longtime collaborator, the late great George Duke.