One of the finest singers around, Diane Schuur continues to shine.
The two-time Grammy winner was in strong form during a recent 90-minute show at Yoshi’s in Oakland.
The evening featured a good blend of material from Schuur’s upcoming Concord Records CD, "Midnight," as well as some songs from her past.
Produced by Barry Manilow, the new album is scheduled to be released Aug. 12. Schuur appeared on his 1987 jazz-oriented record "Swing Street."
One of the night’s highlights was "What is Love?" from the new album. Schuur quipped that she thought the complex number would appeal to someone like John Nash of "A Brilliant Mind" fame.
Judging from the night’s performance, the new album will be rich with romantic ballads and, perhaps, a few tunes that will let Schuur swing. She offered several mighty scats during the evening.
She also reached into her old songbook, performing "The Very Thought of You" from her 1984 album "Deedles" and "Body and Soul" from her 1992 "In Tribute" album.
Schuur, who was blinded at birth in a hospital accident, played piano. She shared the stage with three other musicians. The small ensemble in an intimate club revealed the singer’s clear tones and impressive range.
As she has regularly done during her shows, she called her husband, Les Crockett, to her side. He brought her a cup of coffee, and the couple proceeded to warn each other that the drink was hot. Crockett, who has the nickname "Rocket," sat behind his wife with his hand gently on her hip as she played piano. At the moment, it didn’t matter if the audience was there. It was just Deedles and Rocket.
Crockett was also by her side as she closed her show with an a cappella version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Other singers may get more buzz these days, but Schuur endures.