from The Seattle Times:

Designed to be a large-scale, high impact, civic ritual befitting a burgeoning metropolis, the Bellevue Jazz Festival opened Friday night with a headline show that equaled its intentions when vocalist Dianne Reeves delivered what should turn out to be the most memorable performance of the festival.

Opening night of the festival featured two singers of equal talent but vastly different styles. Kurt Elling and his trio sang in the Theatre at Meydenbauer Center earlier in the evening. A smaller, traditional performance space that seats about 400, the theater was packed for Elling’s show. He stayed away from old standards, preferring jazz compositions intended more for instrumentalists than vocalists, like Joe Zawinul’s “Dream Clock” and Michael Brecker’s “Tumbleweed,” which he sang for his encore. Elling is a very physical improviser who inhabits a song as much as he sings it. His voice has a thick texture with lots of growl and gravel. He can remind you of Eddie Vedder and Tom Waits at times.

Reeves is a highly melodic vocalist with a deep sense of the blues and superhuman control over tone and pitch. The fewer instruments around her, the more astounding she can sound which is why the two-guitar format suited her so well on ballads like “One For My Baby,” and “God Bless the Child.” It worked equally well on a muscular blues song she wrote for her mother called “Today Will Be a Good Day.”

Continue reading at The Seattle Times.

Seattle Jazz