There was a State Dinner at the White House yesterday where guests heard music from some of today’s top jazz performers. Among them was 4 time Grammy winning artist Dianne Reeves. Dianne came from a musical family. Her father was a singer and her mother a trumpet player. She started singing professionally in 1976 and soon began touring with Billy Childs, Sergio Mendes, and Harry Belafonte. In 1987 she was the first vocalist signed to the reactivated Blue Note label. She has won 4 Grammys for Best Jazz Vocal Performance and she is the only singer to have won the award for three consecutive recordings (2001-2003). Here she is in 2004 on the “New Morning In Paris” show singing “That’s All.” The song was written by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes in 1952 and it was first performed by Nat King Cole.
Before they both moved out of Los Angeles, Dianne Reeves and my Beautiful Cousin were actually pretty good friends! In fact I met Dianne at Beautiful Cousin’s baby shower. Dianne brought the cake. It was rum cake and at the time I wondered why someone would bring a booze soaked dessert to a baby shower but I let it pass because I was star struck. I had just about played the silver off the CD of her self titled album (her first for Blue Note I think) so I was just eager to shake her hand. She’s a warm, funny, lovely woman so I liked her in spite of the fact that I strongly disagree with her taste in cakes. If you ask me rum just ruins the taste of a perfectly good pastry! But everyone else, including my very pregnant cousin just raved about it so I suppose, as rum cakes go, it must have been good. Of course any expert will tell you that tiny amount of alcohol couldn’t possibly do any harm to a baby. The “baby” is 19 now and he’s essentially fine but sometimes I wonder. Can a slice of rum cake cause the infant to grow up to lose his job, drop out of college, and plan to live in his mother’s basement forever? If so my Beautiful Cousin might just have grounds for a law suit!