Jazz Legend Dianne Reeves Shares Holiday Favorites

Dianne Reeves comes to the Center for the Arts Saturday, December 4 at 8 p.m.

Become immersed in the sounds of the holidays this weekend with legendary songbird Dianne Reeves, who makes her Center for the Arts debut in Christmas Time is Here on Saturday, December 4 at 8 p.m. For Reeves, this program in Fairfax is special. Not only does it mark her debut on the Center’s Concert Hall stage, but it will be her first holiday concert of the season, and she is excited to bring on the holiday cheer. The program features jazz-styled takes on such classical holiday songs as “Little Drummer Boy,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Christmas Waltz,” and “Let it Snow.” In addition, she will be performing her favorite holiday song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

As a young jazz rising star in the 1980s, she toured internationally with Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes and Harry Belafonte, who introduced her to West African and Indian rhythms. Her long and illustrious performance and recording career has garnered five GRAMMY awards and two honorary doctorates from the famed Berklee College of Music and The Juilliard School. She was the first vocalist to perform at the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. She has performed with Wynton Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2018, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) named Reeves a Jazz Master—the highest honor the United States confers on a jazz artist.

Born in Detroit and raised in Denver, Reeves was introduced to music by her family. Her father sang, her mother played trumpet, her uncle is bassist Charles Burrell, and her cousin is composer, singer-songwriter George M. Duke.

Reeves generously shared with us what she’s looking forward to about her upcoming performance at the Center and the importance of holiday music in her life.

Reeves is a five-time GRAMMY Award winner and the 2018 NEA Jazz Master.

How did music play a role in your family gatherings at the holidays?

REEVES: It was the soundtrack of our lives. Music continued the festive environment of the holiday family gatherings — promoting singalongs, dancing, and all-around joy.

Do you have favorite songs that the holidays wouldn’t be complete without? Or that remind you of your family?

REEVES: Most of my favorite holiday songs are on my Christmas album. The one that has the most meaning is "I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. I left home early and was away a lot so this is song is especially sentimental. I now try my best to me home during the holidays. 

What are some of holiday inspirations that may have come from your travels around the world?

REEVES: The greatest inspiration from my travels is that we’re more alike than different. Everyone loves gathering with family and friends during the holidays.

As you’re preparing for your upcoming concert at the Center for the Arts anything you’re particularly excited about performing that you’d like to share with our audiences?

REEVES: This particular performance is the beginning of our season of holiday performances. The first show of the season is always special and we’re excited to provide some holiday cheer.

Dianne Reeves: Christmas Time is Here: Saturday, December 4 at 8 p.m. at the Center for the Arts.