Diane Schuur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Diane Schuur
Background information
Born (1953-12-10) December 10, 1953 (age 62)
Tacoma, Washington United States
Genres Jazz, blues, pop
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active 1979–present
Labels GRP, Concord
Website www.dianeschuur.com

Diane Schuur (born December 10, 1953 in Tacoma, Washington) is an American jazz singer and pianist. Nicknamed "Deedles", she has won 2 Grammy Awards and had 5 nominations.[1][2] Schuur has headlined many of the world's most prestigious music venues, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and The White House and has toured the world performing with such artists as Quincy Jones, Stan Getz, B. B. King, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Ray Charles, Joe Williams and Stevie Wonder.[3][4] She has performed 6 times on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show".[5] Like Stevie Wonder, Schuur was blind at birth due to retinopathy of prematurity. In 2002 she was awarded the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award.[6]

Early life[edit]

Schuur's birth was two months premature, resulting in her blindness. Her twin brother, David, had normal vision but some hearing loss.[7] Schuur grew up in suburban Seattle. She attended the Washington School for the Blind in Vancouver from age 4 to 11. She lived at school but was able to commute home 150 miles on the train by herself. She later transferred to public school where teachers' aides helped her keep up in class.[8]

Musical beginnings[edit]

Schuur started singing when she was about 3 years old and was encouraged by both her parents. She was blessed with perfect pitch memory and a resonant voice.[9] Her mother, who died when Schuur was 13, had a Duke Ellington record collection, and her father was an amateur pianist who often played with his daughter by his side.[10] Schuur stated, "As far back as I can remember, singing was in my blood. My parents loved music, and I loved to sing. I was scatting at an early age".[7] Schuur listened to the radio avidly and her early childhood music heroines were Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington.[9][11] She said that as a small child she would often retreat to a closet to sing.[12] She learned to play the piano by ear and used braille-written music infrequently because that method took away the use of one hand and was not practical.[9] Her first gig was at age 10 singing country music at Tacoma's Holiday Inn, a booking arranged by her aunt.[8] Schurr began performing original material, and starting at the age of sixteen, revealed her distinctive voice. The first music professional to realize her talent was a county music singer/actor named Jimmy Wakely, who met her in an Elk's Club in 1971 when she was eighteen. After she auditioned for him, he arranged a recording session and made a 45 RPM record of a song called "Dear Mommy and Daddy".[7]


In 1975, at age 22, she auditioned for bandleader Ed Shaughnessy who hired her to be the vocalist in his orchestra. She was then noticed by jazz trumpet star Dizzy Gillespie who invited her to sit in on a set at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1979, at which time she created a minor sensation.[13] She was noticed by jazz saxophonist Stan Getz who heard her sing "Amazing Grace" and was impressed. In 1982 Getz invited her to be in his showcase and perform at the White House during the Reagan administration.[7] Reagan himself was not there but wrote her a personal letter afterwards. Nancy Reagan invited her to perform there again, this time as a vocalist with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1987. She returned to the White House a third time to perform for Bill Clinton. Stan Getz played on Schuur's first three albums, Deedles (1984), Schuur Thing (1985 also with Jose Feliciano ) and Timeless (1986).[13] Schuur's debut album, Deedles, was released in 1984, the first of several recordings to showcase her vocal abilities. In 1985, while on tour in the Far East, Schuur met B.B. King when the two of them played a music festival in Tokyo. Schuur and King eventually made an album together, Heart to Heart released May 1994, which topped the Billboard charts to number one. Twelve of Schuur's albums have reached the Top 10 Jazz Albums on Billboard history charts, including Diane Schuur: Live In London (2006) [14] She received her first Grammy for the album Timeless (1986), and the following year received another, for Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra (1987).

Schuur proved her staying power through the 1990s and into the 2000s, first with her 1991 follow up to Talkin' 'Bout You, Pure Schuur, and then with nearly an album a year from then on, including In Tribute (1992]), Love Songs (1993), Heart to Heart (1994), Love Walked In (1995), Blues for Schuur (1997), Music Is My Life (1999), Friends for Schuur (2000), and Swingin' for Schuur (2001). Late in 2003, Schuur released Midnight, featuring original songs written for the album by Barry Manilow. Manilow also performs alongside Schuur on the album, along with Alan Broadbent on piano, Chuck Berghofer on bass, and the drummers Harvey Mason and Peter Erskine.

Her second live album, Diane Schuur: Live In London, was released in June 2006. It is her first release on the GR2 Classics label, the 20th album of her career and was recorded at Ronnie Scott's in Soho, London.

In 2008 she released a new studio collection entitled Some Other Time.

In 2011, she came out with The Gathering, a unique country album recorded in Nashville and produced by Steve Buckingham.[15] Her latest release came in 2014 with I Remember You: Love to Stan and Frank

Selective discography[edit]

Year Title Genre Label
1984 Deedles Jazz Digital Master
1985 Schuur Thing Jazz GRP
1986 Timeless Jazz GRP
1987 Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra Jazz GRP
1988 Talkin' 'bout You Jazz GRP
1988 A GRP Christmas Collection Gospel GRP
1989 Diane Schuur Collection Jazz GRP
1991 Pure Schuur Jazz GRP
1992 In Tribute Jazz GRP
1993 Love Songs Jazz GRP
1994 Heart to Heart w/B. B. King Jazz GRP
1996 Love Walked In Jazz GRP
1997 Blues for Schuur Blues, Jazz GRP
1997 The Best of Diane Schuur Jazz GRP
1999 Music Is My Life Jazz Atlantic / Wea
2000 Friends for Schuur Jazz Concord
2001 Swingin' for Schuur with Maynard Ferguson Jazz Concord
2003 Midnight Jazz, Pop Concord
2005 Schuur Fire Jazz Concord
2006 Diane Schuur: Live in London Jazz GR2 Classics
2008 Some Other Time Jazz Concord
2011 The Gathering Jazz Vanguard Records
2014 I Remember You:Love to Stan and Frank Jazz Jazzheads Inc./Planetworks

Grammy history[edit]

  • Career Nominations: 5[2]
  • Career Wins: 2[1]
Diane Schuur Grammy Awards History
Year Category Title Genre Label Result
1986 Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Female Timeless Jazz GRP Won
1987 Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Female Diane Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra Jazz GRP Won
1989 Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Female The Christmas Song Jazz GRP Nominated
1991 Traditional Pop Performance Pure Schuur Pop GRP Nominated
1993 Traditional Pop Performance Love Songs Pop GRP Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Grammy Past Winners Search". grammy.com. The Recording Academy. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Diane Schuur South Beach Jazz Fest". colonymb.org. Colony Theatre Miami Beach. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  3. ^ "Diane Schuur performs at Kennedy Center to Honor Stevie Wonder". youtube.com. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  4. ^ "Diane Schuur performs with Ray Charles". Youtube.com. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Zimmerman, David (March 7, 1988). "A Schuur bet as the next jazz superstar". USA Today (archive): D 4. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Kimura, Donna. "Swingin' with Diane Schuur". jazzreview.com. Jazz Review. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d Block, David (November 19, 2013). "Profiling Legendary Jazz Vocalist/Pianist Diane Schuur (Interview)". blindfilmmaker.com. Songwriter's Monthly. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Block, David (2002). "Two-Time Grammy Award Winning Singer Diane Schuur". blindfilmmaker.com. David Block. pp. 54–57. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c Feinstein, MIchael (May 14, 2014). "Diane Schuur On 'Song Travels' (podcast interview)". npr.org. National Public Radio. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 
  10. ^ Kolhaase, Bill (January 14, 1995). "Happiness Is Now a Schuur Thing". Los Angeles Times (Orange County Edition): F2. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "About Diane>Bio". dianeschuur.com. Flying Turtle Studio. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 
  12. ^ "Ability Magazine: Diane Schuur – The Hot Lady of Cool Jazz" (2009)". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  13. ^ a b Gelly, Dave (2002). Stan Getz : nobody else but me (1. ed. ed.). San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 158. ISBN 0879307293. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  14. ^ Billboard Chart History for Diane Schuur
  15. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Review of "The Gathering"". allmusic.com. Allmusic, member of the RhythmOne group. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]