Jazz fans — and music lovers of every ilk — will be flocking to the Tabernacle this weekend for a performance by one of the world’s pre-eminent jazz vocalists, multiple Grammy awardwinner Dianne Reeves.
The concert is the annual offering by SATO (Student Achievement Through Opportunity), a Connecticut-based nonprofit that partners with schools and educators to provide academic and cultural opportunities,and raise achievement levels for minority students.
For the past eight years, SATO founder and director Dr. Kenneth Alleyne has brought some of the world’s top jazz musicians to the Vineyard through his fundraising effort, Jazz on the Vineyard. Previous concerts were held at the Featherstone Center for the Arts and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. This year, the event has been bumped up to a much larger venue, and Alleyne is expecting an audience of at least 600 people.
Dianne Reeves got her start touring with Harry Belafonte in the 1980s. She has gone on to perform on her own and with jazz greats, including Wynton Marsalis and others, and has recorded over 20 albums, five of which were honored with Grammy awards for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. Reeves has performed at the White House on multiple occasions, including at President Obama’s State Dinner for the president of China, as well as the Governors’ Ball.
The awardwinning vocalist was featured in the soundtrack for George Clooney’s Academy Award-nominated film “Good Night, and Good Luck.” The film’s soundtrack album, which includes such 1950s standards as “How High the Moon,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” and “One for My Baby” sung by Reeves, won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Reviewers have praised Reeves, describing her as “a logical successor to Dinah Washington and Carmen McRae,” and “a superior interpreter of lyrics and a skilled scat singer.”
Alleyne is a longtime Vineyard visitor who established the organization SATO to serve as the recipient of proceeds from the Jazz on the Vineyard concerts. The initiative is a labor of love for the Connecticut-based orthopedic surgeon. He was inspired to bring an annual jazz concert to the Island when it became logistically challenging for him and his wife to continue attending the Newport Jazz Festival every summer.
“We knew we had a community and a relatively captive jazz audience on the Vineyard,” says Alleyne. “We decided to try it out.” Alleyne and his wife are both physicians and, despite their busy schedules, they devote a large chunk of their annual Vineyard vacation to organizing the Jazz on the Vineyard concert. “It’s like throwing a wedding every year,” says Alleyne. “I don’t hire planners. For me, it’s about every dollar going to these kids.”
“Jazz on the Vineyard: An Evening with Dianne Reeves” benefit concert Sunday, August 12; festivities begin at 4 pm at the Tabernacle, Oak Bluffs. Tickets start at $85, and can be purchased online at jazzonthevineyard.org. There will be no ticket sales at the event. Premiere seating and a sponsor package, including a meet and greet on Saturday, August 11, are also available.