Take Five With Diane Taber
Born in Buffalo, NY, Diane began singing professionally when she was 16. She has had the privilege of working with amazing jazz talents like saxophonist Don Menza, acclaimed pianist Anne Fadale, trumpeter Sam Noto, master jazz pianist Al Tinney, and Spyro Gyra keyboardist, Tom Schuman. She has studied with classical vocal coach Vincent Mattina and jazz great Anne Marie Moss.
Diane has toured extensively throughout the US and Canada, performing in clubs, radio, TV, and recordings. Her earlier career was as an interpreter of other people's words and music. In 2006, she started writing and recording her own songs. DTM-Music is her production company and her publishing business is Didja Tangle the Muse Publishing.
Voice; Keyboards for composing only.
Teachers and/or influences?
The many great jazz musicians I have had the privilege to work with over the years have been wonderful teachers and influences for both my singing and songwriting. Sometimes I write a song with a specific musician in mind. For example, the song "Amaze Me," on my new album More Than One Ingredient, was written for bassist Bud Fadale's style, tone of playing, and interaction with my voice in mind.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I was five years old. My father, Gene Taber, was a singer and played a couple of instruments. He was a huge musical influence in my life. He chose a different career outside of music, but his love of music inspired me to sing during my early years. I knew I wanted to do music with my life when I heard how he delivered a lyric and told a story with a song. For many years I told other people's stories and now I make up my own.
Your sound and approach to music:
I approach music with a love and respect for the tradition of jazz mixed with a deep appreciation of what is currently happening in music from all parts of the world. I listen, learn and incorporate all of this into what I write. A good description of what I do was recently given in a broadcast by bassist and UK jazz radio host Brian Soundy, who said, "each offering on this brilliant CD, More Than One Ingredient, [sounds] like a standard but with an extra large portion of fresh."
Your teaching approach:
I remain the student.
Your dream band:
I would love to work with Jacky Terrasson, Chris Botti, Billy Kilson, David Sanborn and Esperanza Spalding, to name a few.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Years ago, I was touring with a jazz trio out of New York City. We thought we had been booked into a club in Rockford, IL. It turned out the agent had made a mistake and the booking took us to Rockfalls, IL and a bar filled with mostly men waiting for the all-girl rock band to show up. Thank goodness they took pity on us when they heard our side of it and actually listened to uswell at least a little in between pinball and pool games. Ah, the joys of the road!
The recording studio.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
The new CD is my favorite because it is all my own songs. I can't tell you what a kick it is to have musicians bring my music and lyrics to life.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
I really can't remember, but I do remember spending my last few dollars on a Morgana King album while playing an extended stay in Albany, NY and having to borrow money from the pianist to have enough for meals until the next payday. Luckily it was only two days away.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
An appreciation for a world of music that is constantly inspiring my work and an ability to integrate it into my strong foundation of jazz.
Did you know...
My old recording of "The Summer Knows" is a big hit with several Japanese fans. The latest copy sold for $64. I sure wish I kept some of those copies for myself.
CDs you are listening to now:
George Crowley, Paper Universe (Whirlwind Records);
Henning Sieverts, Symmethree (Pirouet Records);
Maria Rivas-any videos and downloads I find; Kit Downes, Light from Old Stars (Basho);
Anne Fadale Trio, How The Time Goes By (Self Produced)/
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Great players with ideas with the technique to execute them, experienced musicians, and young people who are coming up to keep it alive and progressing.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
A good mix of tradition and new things.
What is in the near future?
I am working hard to market More Than One Ingredient. Each day, I write new material for the next CD and I hope to being recording it next year. At the same time, I am working with my Connecticut collaborator on an indie-rock album with a lot of jazz undercurrent.
What's your greatest fear when you perform?
That it won't be enjoyable and interesting for everyone involved.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
A song that I write sometime after my 90th birthday.
What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
Actually, since I compose a lot of new songs in the shower, I don't want to crowd out the ideas that come to me by singing something already known.
I write every day, do some preliminary recording of new songs, and market the new CD like crazy. Also, I'm developing a limited sheet music catalog with my new company, Didja Tangle the Muse Publishing.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Very sad person; my passion is music, especially jazz. I have been singing it since I was a little girl. I have done other things like write and publish fiction, including an Off-Broadway play. As a co-director of the International Center for Women Playwrights, I brought the organization to the internet in the early '90s, where it became a virtual center with an international board and membership. I've done radio broadcasting and a few other things, but I am only fulfilled professionally when I make music.