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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 25
Arts & Entertainment
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Diane Schuur returns to Jazz Alley stage

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Two-time Grammy-winner Diane Schuur, more familiar to fans and industry colleagues by her nickname "Deedles," is coming back to her roots in more ways than one. A Tacoma native, she hasn't played Seattle in three years and returns to perform at Dimitrou's Jazz Alley from June 30 through July 3 (visit www.jazzalley.com for reservation information). She's also reaching back to country music, a genre that influenced her almost as much as jazz did, on her newest album, The Gathering. In it, Schuur puts her spin on western classics, including Tammy Wynette's "'Til I Can Make it on My Own," Willie Nelson's "Healing Hands of Time" and Merle Haggard's "Today I Started Loving You Again." Now residing in California, the acclaimed musician had just finished a light lunch when I phoned her this week. Here's what the incredibly talented Diane Schuur had to say inside The Music Lounge.



Albert Rodriguez: What do you miss most about this neck of the woods, which includes your hometown?

Diane Schuur: Even as much as I love sunny California, sometimes I miss the rain. And there's nothing like the fresh air, nothing at all.

Rodriguez: We're excited to welcome you back to Jazz Alley. Do you have any fond memories of playing there?

Schuur: Yes, I actually do. The highlight was on April 11 of 1995. My husband proposed to me in front of a packed house.

Rodriguez: You have a new album out. It's a little bit different than what you've done before. Tell us about it.

Schuur: It takes me back to my country roots, kind of like coming 'round full circle. As you recall, the last album I did was in tribute to my mother. This album is more or less a tribute to my dad, because my mom loved jazz and my father really loved country music, so I figured I might as well pay tribute to both. It is a departure, but I'm really glad that I did this. It's got some jazz elements in it, though, like that tune "Today I Started Loving You Again." I don't think anybody in the history of country music has ever scatted jazz to a country song.

Rodriguez: Do you follow the current jazz scene?

Schuur: Sometimes. Although I really love the old school of jazz - Sarah Vaughan, and of course Dinah Washington. Dinah Washington was my biggest influence.

Rodriguez: Do you have any fond memories of performing with the Seattle Men's Chorus?

Schuur: Actually, I do have one memory, and that is on my wedding day with my husband, a few people from the Men's Chorus, with Dennis Coleman leading, did a couple of songs, which was really cool. But of course I have fond memories of the Men's Chorus working with me at the Opera House. In fact, I remember Harvey Fierstein did a bit of the show with the Men's Chorus, and he and I did "Love for Sale" and I remember after the song he actually carried me off stage. [Laughs.] It was pretty funny.

Rodriguez: How did you get the nickname "Deedles"?

Schuur: My mother used to call me "Deedlebabe" when she was alive, and "Deedles" was a shortened version of that.

Rodriguez: You mentioned Harvey Fierstein, and throughout the years you've done many collaborations. Are there any others that stand out for you?

Schuur: Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles are two. B.B. King, and of course Stan Getz, Joe Williams, and Jose Feliciano.

Rodriguez: How do you prepare for your live performances?

Schuur: I make sure that I have a few moments by myself, maybe like 10 minutes, and get into a zone, like a meditative kind of thing.

Rodriguez: Where do you keep your Grammys?

Schuur: On the mantel of our fireplace.

Rodriguez: Do you have any thoughts on Gay marriage? Will it ever be legal?

Schuur: If people want that, then that's what they should strive for because I have no judgment about people's orientation at all. Maybe in our lifetime it'll be legal. I'm certainly rooting for it.

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