The entertainment world’s attention was captured by Monday night’s Emmy Awards show from the Television Academy.  The “moment” was owned by Sheryl Lee Ralph’s acceptance speech for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” (as a kindergarten teacher in the ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary”).

Once she was helped to the podium, after a pause, Ralph belted out an a capella version of “Endangered Species,” a song co-written by NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves (with Jeanne Pisano) on her 1994 album Art and Survival.

(YouTube video from the Television Academy at, beginning around the 3:30 mark.)

Reeves’ phone and social media blew up as people wanted to know more about the song.  In an interview with KUVO, Reeves shares the back story of the song’s creation, produced at a time of personal and professional turmoil, and how she had to fight to keep the song included on the album.  “I thought it might be my last album,” Reeves told KUVO.  “That’s why I named it ‘Art and Survival.’”

Dianne Reeves appears on a track from Terri Lyne Carrington’s forthcoming release New Standards, Vol. 1 (Candid Records), and Reeves’ vocal improvisations are included in the new Sony Pictures film “The Woman King.”

CORRECTION: “Endangered Species” was released 28 years ago.
Interview edited by Leonard “Graffiti” Johnson.

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