Brassy Jazz with the Soul of a Child

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "September in the Rain"
  • Artist: Diane Schuur
  • CD: Some Other Time
  • Genre: Jazz
Maura Lanahan 300

In an archival recording of "September in the Rain," Diane Schuur heats up a jazz standard. Maura Lanahan hide caption

itoggle caption Maura Lanahan

Diane Schuur really belts out the jazz standard "September in the Rain." She takes that old chestnut about "leaves of brown" that tumble down and she heats it up with her brassy tone, adding just the right hint of rue. Her backup, a pianist whose touch is both light and lush, is surely a George Shearing disciple.

The cut comes from Some Other Time, Schuur's new album of classic jazz tunes, and it's a standout, for more reasons than one. Not only does the song vibrate with toe-tapping verve, but its back story is utterly amazing. When she sang this song, Schuur was a mere 10 years old. A reel-to-reel recorder captured her 1964 performance at a Holiday Inn in her native Washington State.

As a child who was blind since birth, Schuur had already soaked up the great Dinah Washington's soulful style. And when Schuur broadly bellows "though spring is here," it could just as easily be Ethel Merman. But this is no mere imitation. Schuur's poised, pitch-perfect rendition reflects the joy of a child exploring an extraordinary gift. She doesn't sound the least bit like a little girl, and her upbeat take makes it very clear: The young Diane Schuur was not about to be depressed by September in the rain.

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Some Other Time

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Diane Schuur

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