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Schuur, Diane

Diane Schuur

Jazz singer

Two-time Grammy winner Diane Schuur is considered one of contemporary jazz's leading vocalists. She has been compared to jazz greats Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan, and is noted for her expressive and powerful vocal deliveries. Blind from birth, the talented and effervescent singer, nicknamed "Deedles," has earned the admiration of many of jazz's greatest musicians. "Diane's got a great ear," saxophonist David Sanborn told Mary Huzinec in People. "She's a natural singer with an easy way of phrasing in the tradition of the great song interpreters." Fellow saxophone master Stan Getz concurred. "She can sing almost any style, from scat to country ballads that can tear your heart out," he told Huzinec. "In my opinion, Diane's got all the equipment to be one of the greats. She's the logical successor to Ella and Sarah."

Schuur grew up in suburban Seattle and was encouraged by both her parents to sing. Her early childhood music heroines were Vaughan and Washington, and Schuur's favorite song was the latter's "What a Difference a Day Makes." Teased by other children for singing like an adult, Schuur retreated to practicing in the closet to emulate her idols. Her mother heard her, as Schuur related to Paul Tough in Savvy : "One day my mom yanked me out of the closet and said 'Here's the microphone. I'm going to put on a record, and you're going to sing it.'" Schuur complemented her singing with a few music lessons and by the time she was ten had largely taught herself the piano and was performing in local clubs. One memorable performance of her early years was at the Tacoma (Washington) Holiday Inn. "I'll never forget it," she told Huzinec. "I forgot the words to 'Unforgettable.' I have it on tape with mother in the background saying, 'Oh, my God.'"

Schuur persisted with her singing and eventually was appearing at some of the top jazz clubs in the Pacific Northwest. A big break in her career came in 1979, when she sang a show-stopping rendition of "Amazing Grace" at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival. Getz, impressed with her performance, volunteered his services as mentor and helped her obtain future engagements. Schuur became a regular on the Tonight Show, and was a favorite at the Reagan White House. Regarding a 1986 performance by Schuur at New York City's famed Blue Note club, reviewer Stephen Holden of the New York Times called her "a vocalist of unusual warmth and power." Holden added that Schuur's "emotive directness and unexpected shifts of intonation" recalled Phoebe Snow, while her "billowing warmth and optimism" recalled "the friendly embrace" of Kate Smith. Reviewing a Carnegie Hall 1987 concert with Mel Torme and Lonette McKee, Holden added other praises, lauding Schuur's "clear expansive delivery," her "sophisticated scat technique," and "phrases [that] roll out on a rich thrilling vibrato."

Schuur's debut album, Deedles, was released in 1984, the first of several recordings to showcase her vocal abilities. In 1986, she received her first Grammy, for the album Timeless, and the following year received another, for Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra. Schuur's recording with the Basie orchestra has been one of her most successful, topping Billboard 's traditional jazz chart listing for an impressive 33 weeks. Schuur later branched out from her jazz approach to a more rhythm-and-blues-influenced style. Her 1988 album Talkin' 'Bout You demonstrated this new venture, and was more pop-orientated than her previous albums. Featuring Ray Charles's classics, including the title track, Talkin' 'Bout You, was well received by music critics. Alanna Nash commented in Stereo Review, "The sheer glory of Schuur's voice, captured here in an ultra-clean production, makes for one of the most engaging albums of the yearpop, jazz, or anywhere in between."

Schuur proved her staying power through the 1990s and into the 2000s, first with her 1991 follow up to Talkin' 'Bout You, Pure Schuur, and then with nearly an album a year from then on, including In Tribute (1992), Love Songs (1993), Heart to Heart (1994), Love Walked In (1995), Blues for Schuur (1997), Music Is My Life (1999), Friends for Schuur (2000), and Swingin' for Schuur (2001).

Late in 2003, Schuur released Midnight, featuring all-original songs written for the album by pop star Barry Manilow. Manilow also performs alongside Schuur on the album, along with jazz powerhouses Alan Broadbent on piano, Chuck Berghofer on bass, and worldclass drummers Harvey Mason and Peter Erskine. Schuur launched a concert tour to promote her latest work, and, lasting into 2004, the tour also marked a milestone in Schuur's careerthe 25th anniversary of the fateful Monterey Jazz Festival that established her as a major force on the jazz scene.

In person, Schuur maintains a positive, cheerful outlook on life, which carries through to her performances on stage. "Even though a song might be sad, I'll try not to drown it," she was quoted in the New York Times. "Like Johnny Mercer said, I always try to accentuate the positive." Regarding her Blue Note program, Holden commented on this aspect of Schuur as revealed through her performance of familiar jazz standards. "On all of them, the singer stamped her engaging, somewhat childlike musical personality. As an interpreter of lyrics, Ms. Schuur seems instinctively drawn toward whatever affirmative ideas can be gleaned from a song. In her hands, even a lament such as Irving Berlin's 'How About Me' becomes an expression of the singer's own resilience and eagerness to forgive." Holden called Schuur's singing "as sunny in spirit as it is voluminous."

For the Record

Born c. 1954; grew up in Auburn, WA; daughter of David (a police captain) and Joan Schuur. Education: Attended State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA.

Performed at Monterey Jazz Festival, 1979; tutored by jazz saxophonist Stan Getz beginning in 1979; per formed on the Tonight Show, at the White House, and Carnegie Hall, 1980s; signed with GRP record label; released debut album, Deedles, 1984; released numer ous albums through the 1980s; won Grammy Awards for Best Female Jazz Performance, in 1986, for her album Timeless, and in 1987 for Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra; released numerous albums through the 1990s; released albums into the 2000s on the Atlantic and Concord Jazz labels.

Awards: Grammy Awards for Best Female Jazz Performance for Timeless, 1986, and for Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra, 1987.

Addresses: Publicist Solters & Digney, 8383 Wilshire Blvd #649, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, website: http://www.solterspr.com. Website Diane Schurr Official Website: http://www.dianeschuur.com.

Selected discography

Deedles, GRP, 1984.

Schuur Thing, GRP, 1985.

Timeless, GRP, 1986.

Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra, GRP, 1987.

Talkin' 'Bout You, GRP, 1988.

The Diane Schuur Collection, GRP, 1990.

Pure Schuur, GRP, 1991.

In Tribute, GRP, 1992.

Love Songs, GRP, 1993.

Heart to Heart, GRP, 1994.

Love Walked In, GRP, 1995.

Blues for Schuur, GRP, 1997.

Music Is My Life, Atlantic, 1999.

Friends for Schuur, Concord Jazz, 2000.

Swingin' for Schuur, Concord Jazz, 2001.

Midnight, Concord Jazz, 2003.

Sources

Periodicals

Down Beat, February 1987.

Jazz Journal International, April 1988.

Jazz Times, October 1987; November 1988; October 1989.

New York Times, November 24, 1986; June 28, 1987; September 5, 1990.

People, June 6, 1988; November 7, 1988.

Savvy, May 1989.

Seattle Times, February 10, 2004.

Stereo Review, February 1990.

Online

"Diane Schuur," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 19, 2004).

Diane Schuur Official Website, http://www.dianeschuur.com (February 19, 2004).

Michael E. Mueller and

Michael Belfiore

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"Schuur, Diane." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Schuur, Diane." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/schuur-diane-0

Schuur, Diane

DIANE SCHUUR

Born: Tacoma, Washington, 10 December 1953

Genre: Jazz

Best-selling album since 1990: Heart to Heart (1994)


Unofficially crowned "the new First Lady of Jazz," Diane Schuur has been a foremost voice in American pop and jazz since 1984. Mentored by jazz legend Stan Getz in the early stages of her career, Schuur is a major recording artist, two-time Grammy Award winner, and an inspiration to millions all over the world for her indomitable spirit.

Music became a part of Schuur's life at a very young age while growing up in Aubern, Washington, near Seattle. The only child of a police captain who enjoyed playing the piano and a mother who loved jazz, she was left completely blind by a hospital mishap shortly after birth. She was encouraged early on to sing and would imitate jazz greats Sara Vaughan and Dinah Washington, both of whom she is now compared to. Blessed with perfect pitch and self-taught on the piano from sitting next to her father as he played, Schuur was performing professionally in area clubs by the age of ten.

After high school, she continued professionally in music, developed a tremendous local following in the Seattle area, and completed a few modest recording efforts. In 1975 she garnered raves at the Monterey Jazz Festival when she performed with the band of Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy. She returned to Monterey in 1979 and astounded the audience after being beckoned to the stage by Dizzy Gillespie and finessing an impromptu version of Amazing Grace. Her spirited performance so impressed jazz legend Getz that he brought her along with him to perform at the White House for President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady Nancy Reagan. Schuur became a favorite of Nancy Reagan's, and on a subsequent White House performance she met GRP Records executive Larry Rosen, who promptly signed her to a recording contract. Schuur's first album, Deedles (1984), an eclectic mix of musical genres highlighting her four-octave range, astounded listeners. The word "Deedles" is a longtime favorite nickname of Schuur's, although her close friends have shortened it to "Deeds." Critics lauded her hornlike approach to singing, which is often compared to the way Ella Fitzgerald vocally attacks her material. In addition to the success of Deedles, her recurring appearances on The Tonight Show thrust Schuur further into the national spotlight.

Over the next thirteen years, Schuur recorded eleven albums for GRP Records and won Grammy Awards in 1987 and 1988 for Best Female Jazz Vocalist. The highlight of her recordings, at least from a jazz point of view, was her work with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1987. Her personal favorite was a well-received album Heart to Heart (1994). She enjoyed the opportunity to work with blues legend B.B. King, and the recording also cemented an already solid reputation as a performer proficient enough to triumph in a wide array of musical stylespop, gospel, country, blues, and jazz. Jazz is considered her strength, and Schuur's dabbling in other musical styles has been met with the dismay of some jazz fans and critics.

However, those who managed Schuur's career in the late 1990s felt that GRP Record's jazz vision was too restrictive for her to attain the expansive, mainstream appeal that she deserved. Schuur always admired pop singers such as Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, and she decided to aim for that kind of broad-based appeal. This led to her changing record labels, first to Atlantic for Music Is My Life (1999) and then to Concord Records for Friends for Schuur (2000), produced by the illustrious hit maker Phil Ramone. Both of these recordings, particularly Friends for Schuur, feature a generous portion of pop standards.

Friends for Schuur is a dynamic recording of Schuur singing duets and sharing song material with various close friends from the music business, including Herbie Hancock, Stephen Bishop, Dave Grusin, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Stan Getz, whose solo on "Easy Living" was digitally reintroduced through modern recording technology. (Getz died in 1991.) One of the album's highlights is a live song from a Kennedy Center performance by Schuur in which Victor Borge, Sean Connery, and Stevie Wonder were paid tribute. Schuur, with Herbie Hancock backing her on piano, flabbergasted Wonder by singing a slow tempo, show-stopping rendition of his hit "I Just Called to Say I Love You." Wonder was overwhelmed. Wonder's vocals were mixed as a tight duet later, and it is sometimes difficult to tell the two singers apart.

Schuur's smiling, open manner lends an easy atmosphere to live performances, almost as if she were singing in her living room. Sometimes she coaxes her husband, Les Crockett, onstage and proceeds to croon a love ballad for his benefit. This generosity of spirit combined with extraordinary vocal skills is a chief reason for her tours' worldwide popularity. Crockett, a retired aerospace engineer, and Schuur were married in 1996.

Both Music Is My Life and Friends for Schuur were well received and critically acclaimed recordings. In 2001 she returned to jazz with the recording Swingin' for Schuur, in which she is accompanied by the big-band swing sounds of Maynard Ferguson and his eleven-piece Big Bop Nouveau Band. Longtime admirers of each other's skills, they had been trying to carve out time to record together for years. The album features Schuur at her brassy best as she belts out jazz standards like "Love Letters" and "Deep Purple."

Schuur became the favorite of another presidential administration when she sang for President Bill Clinton and his wife at the White House in 1995. In 2000 the American Foundation for the Blind selected Schuur to receive the prestigious Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award. The award is given to an individual who acts as a role model or improves the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Whether she is belting a pop tune or riffing on a jazz standard, Schuur's perfect tone, multioctave range, and unrestrained swing meld into a unique talent. However, almost every fan agrees it is Schuur's catchy optimism and zest for life that lend her music soul and lift it to an even higher level.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Deedles (GRP, 1984); Schuur Thing (GRP, 1985); Diane Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra (GRP, 1987); Talkin' Bout You (GRP, 1988); Collection (GRP, 1988); Pure Schuur (GRP, 1991); In Tribute (GRP, 1992); Love Songs (GRP, 1993); Heart to Heart (GRP, 1994); Love Walked In (GRP, 1996); Timeless (GRP, 1996); Blues for Schuur (GRP, 1997); The Best of Diane Schuur (GRP, 1997); Music Is My Life (Atlantic, 1999); Friends for Schuur (Concord, 2000); Swingin' for Schuur (Concord, 2001).

donald lowe

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"Schuur, Diane." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Schuur, Diane." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/schuur-diane

Schuur, Diane

Diane Schuur

Jazz singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Two-time Grammy winner Diane Schuur is considered one of contemporary jazzs leading vocalists. She has been compared to jazz greats Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan, and is noted for her expressive and powerful vocal deliveries. Blind from birth, the talented and effervescent singer, nicknamed Deedles, has earned the admiration of many of jazzs greatest musicians. Dianes got a great ear, saxophonist David Sanborn told Mary Huzinec in People. Shes a natural singer with an easy way of phrasing in the tradition of the great song interpreters. Fellow saxophone master Stan Getz concurred. She can sing almost any style, from scat to country ballads that can tear your heart out, he told Huzinec. In my opinion, Dianes got all the equipment to be one of the greats. Shes the logical successor to Ella and Sarah.

Schuur grew up in suburban Seattle and was encouraged by both her parents to sing. Her early childhood music heroines were Vaughan and Washington, and Schuurs favorite song was the letters What a Difference a Day Makes. Teased by other children for singing like an adult, Schuur retreated to practicing in the closet to emulate her idols. Her mother heard her, as Schuur related to Paul Tough in Savvy: One day my mom yanked me out of the closet and said Heres the microphone. Im going to put on a record, and youre going to sing it. Schuur complemented her singing with a few music lessons and by the time she was ten had largely taught herself the piano and was performing in local clubs. One memorable performance of her early years was at the Tacoma (Washington) Holiday Inn. Ill never forget it, she told Huzinec. I forgot the words to Unforgettable. I have it on tape with mother in the background saying, Oh, my God.

Schuur persisted with her singing and eventually was appearing at some of the top jazz clubs in the Pacific Northwest. A big break in her career came in 1979, when she sang a show-stopping rendition of Amazing Grace at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival. Getz, impressed with her performance, volunteered his services as mentor and helped her obtain future engagements. Schuur became a regular on the Tonight Show, and was a favorite at the Reagan White House. Regarding a 1986 performance by Schuur at New York Citys famed Blue Note club, reviewer Stephen Holden of the New York Times called her a vocalist of unusual warmth and power. Holden added that Schuurs emotive directness and unexpected shifts of intonation recalled Phoebe Snow, while her billowing warmth and optimism recalled the friendly embrace of Kate Smith. Reviewing a Carnegie Hall 1987 concert with Mel Torme and Lonette McKee, Holden added other praises, lauding Schuurs clear expansive delivery,

For the Record

Born c 1954; grew up in Auburn, WA; daughter of David (a police captain) and Joan Schuur. Education: Attended State School for the Blind, Vancouver, WA.

Awards: Grammy Awards for best female jazz performance, 1986, for Timeless, and 1987, for Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra.

Addresses: Home Renton, WA. Record company GRP Records, 555 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

her sophisticated scat technique, and phrases [that] roll out on a rich thrilling vibrato.

Schuurs debut album, Deedles, was released in 1984, the first of several recordings to showcase her vocal abilities. In 1986, she received her first Grammy, for the album Timeless, and the following year received another, for Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra. Schuurs recording with the Basie orchestra has been one of her most successful, topping Billboards traditional jazz chart listing for an impressive 33 weeks. Schuur later branched out from her jazz approach to a more rhythm-and-blues-influenced style. Her 1988 album Talkin Bout You demonstrated this new venture, and was more pop-orientated than her previous albums. Featuring Ray Charless classics, including the title track, Talkin Bout You, was well received by music critics. Alanna Nash commented in Stereo Review: The sheer glory of Schuurs voice, captured here in an ultra-clean production, makes for one of the most engaging albums of the yearpop, jazz, or anywhere in between.

In person, Schuur maintains a positive, cheerful outlook on life, which carries through to her performances on stage. Even though a song might be sad, Ill try not to drown it, she was quoted in the New York Times. Like Johnny Mercer said, I always try to accentuate the positive. Regarding her Blue Note program, Holden commented on this aspect of Schuur as revealed through her performance of familiar jazz standards. On all of them, the singer stamped her engaging, somewhat childlike musical personality. As an interpreter of lyrics, Ms. Schuur seems instinctively drawn toward whatever affirmative ideas can be gleaned from a song. In her hands, even a lament such as Irving Berlins How About Me becomes an expression of the singers own resilience and eagerness to forgive. Holden called Schuurs singing as sunny in spirit as it is voluminous.

Selected discography

Deedles, GRP, 1984.

Schuur Thing, GRP, 1985.

Timeless, GRP, 1986.

Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra, GRP, 1987.

(Contributor) A GRP Christmas Collection, GRP, 1988.

(Contributor) GRP Super Live, GRP, 1988.

Talkin Bout You, GRP, 1988.

The Diane Schuur Collection, GRP, 1990.

Pure Schuur, GRP, 1991.

Sources

Down Beat, February 1987.

Jazz Journal International, April 1988.

Jazz Times, October 1987; November 1988; October 1989.

New York Times, November 24, 1986; June 28, 1987; September 5, 1990.

People, June 6, 1988; November 7, 1988.

Savvy, May 1989.

Stereo Review, February 1990.

Michael E. Mueller

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
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"Schuur, Diane." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Schuur, Diane." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/schuur-diane

"Schuur, Diane." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/schuur-diane