Some Other Time

by: Diane Schuur

For her entry into the increasingly popular Great American Songbook subgenre, Diane Schuur de-emphasizes the vocal histrionics that in the past have come close to spoiling some of her recordings and maintains a steady, clear, exuberant tone. Good move: one of Schuur's gifts is her multi-octave range, but she has often over-relied on it at the expense of whatever song she was singing. Here, she takes to the classic compositions of George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, and the like with a respectfulness and glee that allow her to frame and expose these culturally embedded lyrics and melodies without beating on them. If anything, Schuur is overly cautious at times -- there's a girl-like quality to her voice here that belies her 50-plus years, and she sometimes lays back where before she might have trampled. But she's clearly enjoying this repertoire; it's as if, by exploring these ancient tunes, she's discovered a fountain of youth along the way. Accompanied by longtime pianist Randy Porter, as well as guitarist Dan Balmer, bassist Scott Steed, and drummer Reggie Jackson, Schuur largely stays in a ballad-to-midtempo range on standards like "Blue Skies," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "My Favorite Things," and Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne's "It's Magic." She's comfortable there, and the lack of a hurried pace allows her to utilize her still impressive range to get the most from the tunes without falling into the trap of milking them. ~ Jeff Tamarkin

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