Friday, February 28, 2014

Diane Schurr

"It's so good to be in O-ma-ha-ha-ha" was how Diane Schurr started the night's performance last Friday.
Diane Schurr sold out two concerts last weekend at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha.   The first one was in the 1200 Club of the Holland replacing the Sean Jones Quartet and then followed by a jazz festival on Saturday. 
The two-time Grammy Award winning artist thrilled both audiences with her mastery of jazz and blues on the piano with her magnificent voice proving that she unquestionably is one of the most talented performers of all time.  She is unquestionably one of the best vocalists ever.   Her unusual combination of songs from the Big Band era with jazz were at times reminiscent of Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, with even a bit of Mel Torme.  However, she proved to have learned from the masters in that her musical creations were exquisite. Her clear and powerful voice hit highs and lows that are extremely impressive for a woman of any age with remarkable breath control.   Her selections were a mixture of styles with varying meters and transpositions where the smooth transitions were so well blended that it was difficult to notice. She perfectly maneuvered each selection into a masterpiece creating music from the syncopated rhythms into a jazz treasure. I was surprised that this was Diane Schuur's first visit to Omaha.   Considering that she has performed at the White House for years beginning with President Reagan, it is unusual that she has not visited this area before and graced us with her musical gifts.      
Years ago, she started with the great jazz musician Stan Getz who recognized her talent and mentored her as a jazz vocalist and pianist.
"I Remember You" was a title of one of her marvelous selections reflecting her influences by Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra and is also the title of her next album which will be released in June.   "Nice and Easy", Michel Legrand's "Cold", "Here's That Rainy Day", "Didn't We", "Land of Make Believe", "I Get Along without You Very Well", "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon", "Love is Lovlier the Second Time Around", "Lady Be Good", and "For Once in My Life".
Also adding to her music was Ben Wolfe on bass and local UNO professors Dana Murray on drums and Darrin Pettit on saxophone.  Their contributions to the music was outstanding as well as their versatility and flexibility in working with her jazz arrangements.
Although this was Diane Schurr's first time to perform in Omaha, with the audiences delight, I hope that she will now return many times. For those who could not actually be at the Holland, her new album "I Remember You" will be released in June.   It will be music that you will enjoy.

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