Diane Schuur: Some Other Time (2008)
One listen to any Diane Schuur recording and it's clear that "Deedles has a musical personality as big as a universe. Schuur's expansive and expressive voice does not mince words or techniques. She sings a straight-ahead, no-nonsense brand of jazz that brims with brio and leaves no misunderstanding what the composers intended for the Great American Songbook.
Some Other Time is Schuur's tribute to the previous generation's music; her Mother's music. The recital is arranged by Schuur's pianist (when she is not playing herself) Randy Porter. Porter chooses an orchestral approach to his arranging and piano playing.
Porter summons a very large sound out of Schuur's quintet, approximating a little big band. Kicking the disc off with the Gershwin brothers' "Nice Work if You Can Get It, Porter attacks with a two-fisted piano approach that magnifies his arrangements. And magnification they need because when Deedles decides to belt one out, she does so with uncommon gusto.
Schuur is unequaled in that brand of jazz singing that resides between melody and conversationthe jazz equivalent of the opera recitative, as evidenced by Schuur's singing on the second chorus of the Gershwin piece and the following "Beginner's Luck. She is also a master at re-pacing songs, like Irving Berlin's "Blue Sky, which is cast in an almost waltz time and sung with the languor one would use for the Gershwins' "Summertime. The same occurs on "My Favorite Things.
Guitarist Dan Balmer provides some softening to "Blue Skies, his round, fuzzy single-note solo teasing Schuur and playing a perfect foil to Porter's huge arrangement. He is also instrumental in the disc highlights, "My Favorite Things and Schuur's take on "Danny Boy. "Danny Boy is introduced with a tape recording of Schuur's mother asking her if she knows the song. Schuur and Balmer perform a sensitive duet sure to tug at all our Irish hearts. Diane Schuur is a most rare jazz singer and one we should hope to hang on to.
Track Listing: Nice Work If You Can Get It; Beginner's Luck; They Say It's Wonderful; Some Other Time; Blue Skies; Without A Song; It's Magic; Taking A Chance On Love; The Good Life; If Someone Had Told Me; My Favorite Things; September In The Rain; Danny Boy.
Personnel: Diane Schuur: vocals, piano; Randy Porter: piano; Dan Balmer: guitar; Scott Steed: bass; Reggie Jackson: drums.