Reeves was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a musical family. Her father, who died when she was two years old, was also a singer. Her mother, Vada Swanson, played trumpet. A cousin, George Duke, was a well-known piano and keyboard player and record producer. Dianne and her sister Sharon were raised by their mother in Denver, Colorado. As a child, Dianne took piano lessons and sang at every opportunity. When she was eleven years old, her interest in music was enhanced by an inspiring teacher who thought that music was the best way to bring students together. Dianne discovered a love of music and that she wanted to be a singer.
At the age of 16, Reeves was singing at the George Washington High School (Denver) in Denver, in a high school big-band. That same year, the band played at a music festival (Convention of the National Association of Jazz Educators). Her band won first place, and it was there she met the trumpeter Clark Terry, who became her mentor.
A year later, Reeves began studying music at the University of Colorado before she moved in 1976 to Los Angeles. While there, her interest in Latin-American music grew. She began experimenting with different kinds of vocal music, and finally decided to pursue a career as a singer. She met Eduardo del Barrio, toured with his group Caldera, and sang in Billy Childs' jazz band, Night Flight. Later, she toured with Sérgio Mendes.
From 1983 until 1986, Reeves toured with Harry Belafonte as a lead singer. This period saw her first experiences with world music. In 1987, Reeves was the first vocalist signed to the re-activated Blue Note/EMI label.
1989: At Last (Lou Rawls); Ballads (Lou Rawls); Best of Feldman and the Generation Band (Victor Feldman's Generation Band); Straight to My Heart: The Music of Sting (Bob Belden Ensemble)
1990: Nova Collection '90 (Various); Yule Struttin' (Various)
1991: Continuing the Legacy of Black Music... (Various); Free Play (Eduardo Del Barrio); Keys to Life (Ben Tankard)
1992: Christmas Carols & Sacred Songs (The Boys Choir of Harlem); Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration (Various); Legendary Lou Rawls (Lou Rawls); Moonlight Love: Soft Sounds for a Summer Night (Various)
1994: Blue Note Now! (Various); For the Love of Music (Lionel Hampton); I've Known Rivers (Billy Childs); Shades of Blue (Bob Belden)
1995: Esquire Jazz Collection: Crosstown Traffic (Various); Jazz to the World (Various); Rhythm & Blues Christmas [Cema] (Various); Today's Stars Sing Holiday Classics (Various)
1996: Bob Beldon Presents Strawberry Fields (Various); Doky Brothers, Vol. 2 (Niels Lan Doky & Chris Minh Doky); Never Ending Game, Vol. 1 (Dreadformation); New Groove: The Blue Note Remix Project, Vol. 1 (Various); Panasonic Village Jazz Festival 1996 (Various); Place of Hope (Various); Soulful Sounds of Christmas [One Way] (Various); Strawberry Fields (Bob Belden); World Christmas (Various)
1997: 1997 Panasonic Village Jazz Festival (Various); Best of George Duke: The Elektra Years (George Duke)(bckgr); Fiesta & More (Victor Feldman); Is Love Enough? (George Duke) (bckgr); Last Time I Committed Suicide (Original Soundtrack); Monk on Monk (T.S. Monk); Sample This (Joe Sample); Sleep Warm (Various); Slow Jams: On the Jazz Tip, Vol. 1 (Various); Soul Control (Gerald Veasley); That Old Feeling (Original Soundtrack); Yule Be Boppin' (Various); Great Jazz Vocalists Sing Strayhorn & Ellington (Various); Ultimate Nina Simone (Nina Simone)
1998 :Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Cabildo) (Poncho Sanchez); Blue Box, Vol. 2: Finest Jazz Vocalists (Various); Blue Note Salutes Motown (Various); Blue Note Years 1939-1999 (Various); Chez Toots (Toots Thielemans); Colors of a Band (Peter Herbolzheimer); Minh Chris (Minh Doky); Seasons 4 U (Lou Rawls); Soulful Divas, Vol. 3: Softly with a Song (Various); Soulful Divas, Vol. 5: Ladies of Jazz N Soul (Various); Ultimate Divas [Box] (Various); We've Got What You Need (James Williams & ICU)
1999: Afro Blue (Various); Art & Soul (Renee Rosnes); Beach Music Anthology, Vol. 2 (Various); Best Blue Note Album in the World Ever (Various); Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz (Various); Blue Movies: Scoring for the Studio (Various); Blue Note Years, Vol. 6: New Era 1975-1998 (Various); Blue Note Years, Vol. 7: Blue Note Now & Then (Various); Blue Valentines (Various); Down Here Below (Jeffery Smith); Edge (Lenny White); Jazznavour (Charles Aznavour); Just the Ticket (Original Soundtrack) (bckgr); Live at the Blue Note: 75th Birthday Celebration (Chico & Von Freeman); Live in Swing City: Swingin with the Duke (Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra & Wynton Marsalis); Manhattan Melodies (Eric Reed); Native Voices (Various); R 'N' Browne (Tom Browne); Tribute to Ellington (Daniel Barenboim)
2000: 30 Years of Montreux Jazz Festival (Various); Anthology (Eddie Henderson) (bckgr); Going Home: Tribute To Duke Ellington (Various); Love Affair: The Music of Ivan Lins (Jason Miles/Various); Never Gonna Give Up (Lorrich); Pure Cool (Various); Sci-Fi (Christian McBride); Smooth and Straight (Various); Smooth Grooves: Jazzy Soul, Vol. 2 (Various); Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Rodney Whitaker)
2002: At His Best (Solomon Burke) (bckgr); Café (Trio da Paz); I Heard It on NPR: Jazz for Blue Nights (Various); Incredible Solomon Burke at His Best (Solomon Burke)(bckgr); Lenny White Collection (Lenny White); Pump It Up (Les McCann); Tom Browne Collection (Tom Browne)
2003: I Heard It on NPR CD Box Set: Jazz for Blue Nights (Various); Midnight Music (Various); Wise Children (Tom Harrell)
2004: Blue Note Plays the Beatles (Various); Colors of Latin Jazz: Música Romántica (Various): The Magic Hour (Wynton Marsalis)