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Never Too Far

Dianne Reeves
Never Too Far

By Steven Fullwood

Best described as Dianne Reeves' "R&B album," Never Too Far is at best an attempt to further the singer's own musical journey while cashing in on those enthralled with her classic Better Days. George Duke lends a producing hand, and the results are uneven at times and listless at others. Yet her fantastic cover of Rickie Lee Jones' "Company" alone makes the disc worth purchasing.

The title song is a sweeping ballad that demonstrates Reeves' flexibility as a vocalist, and presents her as a contender for middle-of-the-road, Whitney Houston-esque tunes. On "Haven't I Seen You Before," written and produced by the gospel outfit Take 6, who also contribute honey-smooth background vocals, Reeves takes each and every curve with the style and flair of a jazz vocalist. She slows things down a bit on "More to Love," and "Come In," the latter of which Reeves digs into with relish.

The aforementioned tunes, in addition to "We Belong Together" and "Company," are the main reasons to add Never Too Far to your collection. On "We Belong Together," Reeves takes off on a cosmic journey letting her substantial voice creep and bounce around Duke's synthesizers. With "Company," written by street storyteller Rickie Lee Jones, Reeves' vulnerability taps the heart as she falls face-first into the song. Jones' bare story of love loss is beautifully captured in Reeves' clear-as-a-chime phrasing - a triumph of proportions. M

June 2002


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