IN Tune: Diane Schuur at the Blue Note

LYNN PARET: Diane Schuur wasted no time making the Blue Note audience comfortable with the blindness she’s had since birth. After a young man helped seat her at the piano, Schuur felt around for her water — and spilled the bottle. “Thank God for lids,” she said.

Photo Credit: by Joe Dulanie for CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM. No re-use without permission
Photo Credit: by Joe Dulanie for CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM. No re-use without permission
Photo Credit: by Joe Dulanie for CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM. No re-use without permission
Photo Credit: by Joe Dulanie for CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM. No re-use without permission

No re-use without permission

“Isn’t it funny how words take on new meanings? Lids. Zip locks.” She hadn’t sung a note and already Schurr had connected, as we all laughed together.

She has a way like that, making everyone in the room — including her band members — feel completely at ease.

I’ll admit upfront: I don’t have a head for jazz. On the one hand, the individual performances are great. Yet when they’re combined, I feel like I’m being ripped in different directions.

Still, there are two special sets of circumstances going on right now at the Blue Note, at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. through Sunday, that make this show the perfect date night.

For one thing, the Blue Note has always been such a great venue — tiny, intimate. The last time I was there, I had to move so the artist could get past us to the stage. This was no different. We were practically on the stage itself.

Lynn Paret

The other thing is Schuur herself. The woman has the voice of an angel. She feels every note. She scats, she sings — and she hits notes that makes you wonder whether dogs are howling somewhere, garage doors are opening and glass is shattering. And her quirky personality is thoroughly delightful.

Her expressions frequently change, sometimes from happy, laughing and smiling to very serious. Her hands move constantly — clapping, shaking, finger-popping. She is a professional entertainer of the highest order.

The fact that the show isn’t scripted makes it even more enjoyable. Schuur sometimes launches into a song and the guys in the band scramble to get their sheets out. Where some performers might bristle, she smiles, laughs, teases.

The trio began with light music — Randy Porter on piano; Scott Steed on bass and Reggie Jackson on drums. Then came Schuur, a brilliant ball of talent and passion.

She opened with the perfect mood-setter, “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.” Then, what better song for the evening than “Autumn In New York,” followed by “Seven Steps to Heaven.”

Seated at the piano, she did “So In Love,” then quickly moved to “It‘s Magic,” catching her backups off guard. “It‘s cool,” she told them, continuing to play the piano as they fumbled to find their music sheets.

The banter was genuine. The feel was fun. A boisterous fan earlier tried to get her to sing “Easy Like Sunday Morning,“ and Schuur shushed him. Then later, she sang a few bars, laughing.

Schuurr was as surprised as the audience that there was no response. My boyfriend said the guy must’ve gone out for a smoke. “Well then this is a good reason to quit,” Schuur said. “Oh, boy, he might want to come up on stage with me!”

Imagine that: Diane Schuur was fulfilling his request, and he wasn’t even around to here it.

Schuur literally ended the show on a high note, with “It Don’t Mean a Thing.“

I’ll be honest: At some points I thought my head would explode. But, thanks to my boyfriend, Joe, I‘m learning to listen to jazz and each time I discover colors I haven’t experienced before. It just so happens Diane Schuur has an enormous palette.

The better to color with.

It just so happens Lynn Paret is an artist herself. Her gallery of paintings is extensive — and, for you, exclusive. Name the artist, or the celebrity. If that person isn’t already in Lynn’s gallery, she’ll create the painting of your choice. CLICK HERE FOR LYNN’S CLIFFVIEW PILOT SPECIAL OFFER

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