Next month’s Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines will feature many artists who are returning and familiar to the faithful audience. But one voice will make her inaugural visit to the mountain amphitheatre.
Diane Schuur will step onto the Holmes Amphitheatre stage Saturday, Aug. 17, for the first time. Schuur, now living in Palm Desert, is a world-renowned jazz vocalist and pianist. Her mentor was Dinah Washington and Schuur sings jazz tunes from the 1940s and 1950s.
“It’s a mixture of standards and some of the tunes I’m know for,” Schuur said, describing plans for the jazz fest. This will include “Deedle’s Blues.” Her nickname is Deedles. But Schuur is known for her beautiful voice and a wide genre of songs, not just from the Washington era.
Although born blind, she made up for it with perfect pitch and a love for music. She’s been singing since she was 9, almost 50 years ago. “I haven’t let it stop me from forging ahead in life,” she said proudly.
She also sings pop music from the 1960s. Her first song was a country song and she made an album several years ago. Her range is broad. Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz, personal friends, are also important sources for her music. Attention is necessary and enjoyable as she can surprise listeners during a performance.
Schuur just loves singing and sang a verse on the phone during the interview. She has garnered five Grammy nominations and won two Grammy Awards for best female jazz vocal performance.
Schuur has just returned from another European tour, from England to Latvia, with stops in France, Italy and Switzerland. She has performed in Japan, a bastion of jazz enthusiasts, for decades. She enjoys the traveling and has no favorite venue.
As a long-time Southern California resident currently living in Palm Desert, she was paying close attention to the Mountain Fire last week. “I’m hoping and praying Idyllwild is spared from this horrible fire,” she said last Saturday.