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Deedles never really left her jazz roots. However, the two-time Grammy-winning vocalist says Some Other Time is her way of getting back to the basics. Nicknamed "Deedles" at a young age, Diane Schuur has had her feet firmly planted in two worlds: pop and jazz. Many of her releases combined elements of both, particularly during her years with GRP Records.
Schuur scored two Grammy Awards, with Timeless (GRP, 1986) and Diane Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra (GRP, 1987). The latter spent 33 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard jazz charts. Heart to Heart (GRP, 1994), a collaboration with bluesman B.B. King, entered the charts at No. 1. In addition to King, Schuur's musical associations have included Ed Shaughnessy, former drummer of the Tonight Show band; Stan Getz; Maynard Ferguson; Barry Manilow and the Caribbean Jazz Project.
Some Other Time, Schuur's Concord Records debut, focuses on the jazz she grew up listening to. The album celebrates the 40th anniversary of the death of Schuur's mother, the singer says. It revisits compositions by such musical icons as George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein.
Schuur's voice is crystal clear as she begins a delightful romp with Gershwin's "Nice Work If You Can Get It." Pianist Randy Porter, who arranged all tracks, helps underscore the lead, complemented by Dan Balmer on guitar, Scott Steed on bass and Reggie Jackson on drums. Jackson's work on the hi-hats is crisp throughout. Balmer delivers an elegant guitar solo on Berlin's "Blue Skies." As she does in several instances, Schuur displays a controlled vibrato at key points. Porter's solo is one of the album's highlights.
"Magic," by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, is one of two songs on which Schuur takes over piano duties. The instrument and her voice complement each other perfectly.
For those who hadn't heard Schuur in a while, Some Other Time is an excellent vehicle for reintroduction. And to those who have stayed abreast of her music, the album offers a look into what makes Deedles tick. Either way, it's a fitting tribute to Schuur's mother as well as the artists of a long-ago era.
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 (7, 9); Randy Porter: piano (1-6, 8, 10-13); Dan Balmer: guitar; Scott Steed: bass; Reggie Jackson: drums.