One of the hottest summers in recorded history seems finally to be subsiding, or perhaps just giving us a week's respite. In any case, there's no better way to celebrate what feels like the first days of autumn than to step outside, pull up a chair or stretch out a blanket, and let jazz divas Dianne Schuur and Oleta Adams drive the temperature back up. They'll be performing outdoors at Lee Park on Friday and Saturday as part of the Festival on Turtle Creek.
Oleta Adams, who first tested her talents at the Pilgrim's Rest Baptist Church in Yakima, Washington, where her father was minister, draws deeply from her gospel roots, but crosses into soul, jazz, R&B, and pop with the ease of someone who's been around music her entire life. And she has: By the time she was 11, Adams had worked with four choirs, and had proven herself a piano prodigy. When she was "discovered" by Tears For Fears' Roland Orzabal at the beginning of the 1990s, she already had many years of gigging in and around the Midwest behind her. Now, as a Grammy award-nominated artist with a couple of releases to her name, she is returning to the gospel music she sang as a child. Her latest album, Movin' On, emphasizes her R&B heritage, which she'll be sharing with the audience along with some of her previous hits, such as "Get Here" and "Circle of One."
Dianne Schuur, also from Washington, started out singing and playing the piano in small clubs, and had released her first single before she even graduated from high school. By the 1980s, she was singing with the likes of jazz musician Stan Getz in a White House performance and reaping Grammy awards and nominations. As one of the best jazz vocalists around, she continues to tour Europe, South America, Japan, and the United States while waiting for the 1999 release of a new album with Atlantic Records.
These two concerts are the main attractions of the Festival on Turtle Creek, which will also include a Band Blowout, in which 20 local bands battle it out for cash prizes; a Sunday Gospel Brunch; and some less orthodox entertainment by Cyndy, a supposed clairvoyant who promises to answer questions you may have for your deceased loved ones--and guardian angels, if you have any.
Best of all, you can count the concert as your good deed for the year, since proceeds from the show will go to the AIDS Resource Center Food Pantry and the Transplant Services Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
The Festival on Turtle Creek takes place in Lee Park. Oleta Adams performs Friday, October 16, and Dianne Schuur performs Saturday, October 17. Both shows are at 8 p.m. The Band Blowout will take place during the day on Friday and Saturday. The Sunday Gospel Brunch starts at 10:30 a.m., and the clairvoyant's session will take place in Arlington Hall on Sunday, starting at 3:30 p.m. Other festival activities will take place throughout the weekend. Call (800) 654-9545 for tickets.