Having displayed a knack in the past for reinterpreting both pop and jazz tunes, jazz vocalist Diane Schuur once again succeeds in bringing together an unexpected mix of compositions on Schuur Fire. Featuring the Caribbean Jazz Project, the album finds Schuur's clarion vocals melding nicely with vibist Dave Samuels' superb Latin jazz ensemble – especially trumpeter Diego Urcola, who takes some tasty solos throughout.
Diane Schuur, who has sometimes been on the periphery of jazz, balances her importance as a dedicated jazz singer with the inclusion of a large dose of pop tunes in her repertoire. Early in her career she had the tendency to screech in her upper register, but with maturity that flaw has largely disappeared and she has become a very impressive singer. Blinded at birth due to a hospital accident, Schuur (who would later be nicknamed "Deedles") imitated singers as a child.
On this well-intentioned set, Diane Schuur sings 13 standards that she individually dedicated to 12 singers: Billie Holiday (who is saluted with two songs), Helen Morgan, Anita O'Day, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Libby Holman, Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Ivie Anderson, Nancy Wilson and Mabel Mercer. In most cases, the arrangements for the huge string orchestra (contributed by Billy May, Johnny Mandel, Jeremy Lubbock, Clare Fischer or Alan Broadbent) weigh down the music a bit, and none of Schuur's renditions quite reach the heights of her role models. Still, Diane Schuur's voice is quite attractive, and taken on its own merit, this sincere CD (which has an informative 40-page booklet) is generally enjoyable.
This video is simply fantastic on all counts. Two time Grammy Award winner Diane Schuur joins the Count Basie Orchestra in a wonderful concert recorded at the Rainbow Room in New York in 1987. The legendary Jazz vocalist whose lovely and pristine voice ehoes that of Ella Fitzgerald sings 14 wonderful tunes from the Jazz era of the 1940's and sings each song with the expertise and finess of the seasoned professional that she is. The lady with the sultry and crystal clear voice has been blind since birth and overcame her handicap to become one of the leading voices in Jazz. This performance is excellent and is one that you will enjoy tremendously. I only wish the video was longer yet the selections that she performed were brilliant. The Count Basie Orchestra did an outstanding job in backing her up they're really a terrific orchestra. This is Diane Schuur at her finest and if you're a fan of this Jazz legend you cannot miss this incredible live performance. Just like the title of this review this performance from Ms.Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra is a captivating hour of brilliance.
Diane Schuur is that rare songbird who is equally competent as a jazz singer and a pops entertainer. While some vocalists go with more lucrative popular music and some take the road of the jazz artist in the pure sense, Schuur is able to straddle the two careers. Frank Sinatra and Nat "King" Cole had a superb grasp of the jazz idiom, but they made the decisive choice to become entertainers. By contrast, Chris Connor, Betty Carter, and Johnny Hartman all had shots at the klieglights and hit parade but took the route of the jazz scene…
Two-time Grammy® Award winner and one of contemporary jazz's leading vocalists, Diane Schuur, has signed with Vanguard Records. She will be releasing her label debut, The Gathering, on June 7th. With a distinguished career that spans nearly three decades, Schuur's new album is unique in both material and style, and features special guests Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Mark Knopfler, Larry Carlton and Kirk Whalum.