Diane Schuur is laughing. Even over the phone from San Jose, there's no mistaking her alto-pitched tones-clean, clear and melodious, even as she giggles.
Schuur, who appears tonight with the Count Basie Orchestra at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, has dealt with her problems through 12-step programs and determination. But music also has played a soothing role.
Song has always provided an emotional outlet for Schuur, who is blind. As a child, she often retreated to her closet, where she would sing away her woes. Her mother, who died when Schuur was 13, listened to Duke Ellington recordings, and her father played piano, often with his daughter at his side. She began her singing career at age 9.