Thursday, March 6, 2008

Diane Schuur: Some Other Time

Concord Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 3.6.08
Buy CD: Some Other Time

Diane Schuur was born blind in 1953 in Tacoma, Wash. But, as is often the case, her disability was ameliorated by other attributes: She had perfect pitch, a voice to take advantage of it, and the will to teach her self to play the piano. 

Her father also was a pianist and her mother an avid jazz fan, so young Diane grew up in a home filled with music. By age 10, she was performing in public. Her big, rich, vocal style at that age is evident on one of the tracks included in this album, made at a Holiday Inn in 1964. 

Several notable artists "discovered" — and made significant contributions to — her development; Doc Severinson, the longtime leader of the Tonight Show band; Ed Shaughnessy, Severinson's drummer, who also had a band of his own; Stan Getz, Maynard Ferguson and Count Basie. During Schuur's early years she recorded almost a dozen albums, including two Grammy winners. She has been with Concord Records since '99. 

This album, a tribute to her mother (who died at age 31), features music Schuur was exposed to during childhood; the set list includes tunes by the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Oscar Hammerstein and Sammy Cahn. The back-up musicians include pianist Randy Porter, guitarist Dan Balmer, bassist Scott Steed and drummer Reggie Jackson. They swing nicely and are key to making this release a keeper. 

If you're a fan of beautiful old standards performed by a superior vocalist, you'll want this one.

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