Vocalist-pianist Diane Schuur burst on the national music scene in 1984 when her first GRP Records release, Deedles, hit stores. Critics immediately were impressed by her distinctly jazz inflected lines, great sense of time and tempo, and wonderful scat chops even when singing pop tunes. Fans flocked to her and CD sales have always been respectable, if not downright incredible, for a jazz singer. Since then her rich and highly expressive voice has never wavered through the first 11 GRP releases to time spent on Atlantic and now Concord.
The same is again true on Some Other Time, her tribute to the 40th anniversary of her mother’s passing. On this album she relinquishes performing overtly pop influenced music in favor of, what are now considered, jazz standards from the time of her youth. Backed on piano by Randy Porter, except for two numbers where Schuur plays the chair herself, his fuller accompaniment style fits her voice like a glove.
On "Some Other Time," for example, Porter’s ability to surround her voice with lightly sparkingly harmonic implications allows her to take her time with the phrases. Schuur lingers a little more than usual and the result is exquisite. Her luxuriant and wide ranging voice was certainly in top form during these recording dates. The same is also true on "They Say It’s Wonderful." The pairing of these two artists makes these proceedings truly worth the repeated listening you’ll find yourself addicted to.
Scott Steed’s work on bass and Reggie Jackson’s drum work, while not flashy, certainly serve the vocalist. They make sure their work is in support of the music and not about themselves. It’s too bad more instrumental rhythm sections working behind vocalists aren’t as dedicated to the concept of the artist first before self-declarations of ability and technique. Their work behind Schuur on the up-tempo "Without A Song" is just one example of many where they hit their stride and lock on, truly swinging their butts off.
While the lack of modern pop material may keep people away from this recording, you should not be dissuaded from catching one of the best vocalists of our era laying down a set of great jazz on this disc.