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Schuuf, Diane

Schuuf, Diane

Schuuf, Diane, jazz/pop/blues pianist and vocalist; b. Seattle, Wash., 1953. A self-professed disciple of Dinah Washington, Diane Schuur has spent the past several years veering from Brazilian to adult- contemporary pop to blues in hopes of escaping the daunting “next Ella” pigeonhole that set her up for unfair and unrealistic expectations. Blinded after birth in a hospital accident, Schuur got her big break in 1979 when she was invited to sing with Dizzy Gillespie at the Monterey Jazz Festival. She became one of the first acts signed to Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen’s GRP label in 1984 after they spotted her singing with Stan Getz on a PBS-televised White House concert. Her Grammy-winning 1987 collaboration with The Count Basie Orchestra showcased the roof-raising power of her voice and endeared her to the burgeoning audience of new jazz listeners enticed by the sonic clout of the then-fledgling compact disc. But conquering the contemporary jazz market so early in her career left Schuur searching for material to challenge her formidable vocal skills. In recent years she’s done numerous conceptual jazz-vocal projects, but hasn’t been able to rekindle the gospel and R&B roots she celebrated on 1988’s underrated Talkin’ ’Bout You


Deedles (1984); Schuur Thing (1985); Timeless (1986); Diane Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra (1987); Talkin’ ’Bout You (1988); Pure Schuur (1991); In Tribute (1992); Love Songs (1993); Heart to Heart (with B. B. King; 1994); Love Walked In (1996); Blues for Schuur (1997); Music Is My Life (1999); Friends for Schuur (2000).

—David Okamoto

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