Diane Witherspoon, an accomplished Jazz vocalist with a soulful, personal sound that borrowed elements of gospel and blues, passed on this year. A petite 5ft-tall African American Jazz Singer and performer with a surprisingly booming voice, she was a sister, mother, daughter, grand-mother, and an extremely talented child of God. Diane was also a recognized ambassador of friendship and love to thousands of people throughout the world.
One of 9 siblings, Diane grew up in a family that all sang well. Her First solo performance was at the age of 9 with her church choir. As a young adult she began singing professionally. Jazz was her genre of choice, because (she said) it gave her the freedom to improvise and interpret melodies and lyrics her own way. Following in the footsteps of older sister Shirley Witherspoon, who sang with Duke Ellington for a couple of years, she was inspired to pursue singing professionally.
Eventually she began traveling all over the world reaching 14 + countries; singing, teaching, maturing, and exploding into the talent we all knew and loved. After touring internationally for many years, she released her 1990 debut album “Thanking You” on Tonal Gravity Records. Diane has 7 CD’s in her name (see Discography), and appears on many more. She has performed and/or recorded with many world renowned musicians such as Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, Teddy Edwards, John Handy, Calvin keys, Art Maxwell, Kurt Lightsey, Rasul Siddik, Ghasem Batamuntu …. and the list goes on.
Diane Witherspoon was a vocal force unparalleled among today’s female jazz singers.
“You May Never Know”
Koch Jazz 1999
“The Very Thought Of You”
Miss Spoon Records 2002
“L. A. After Dark”
Summit Records 2004
“You Called Another’s Name”
Docbil Records 2005
“Love and Respect”
Docbil Records 2007
“Diane Witherspoon “Live””
LifeForce Records 2016
Quoting Diane’s Facebook page:
“I am loving life and feeling especially blessed. It gives me something to sing about. I am a professional singer; mostly and especially Jazz; I am also a composer and amateur pianist. I travel each year to other countries to perform so I can support my creative and financial existence. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. I am also the proud mother of 3 GREAT young adults; Bill, Asha and Lila (short for “Dalila”). Currently, I am single, living alone and enjoying all that life has to offer me. God is GOOD!”
“Do Unto Other’s As You Would Have Them Do Unto You”, and “What Goes Around, Comes Around”… so, she adds, “let’s all try to live ‘Good’ lives!”
Diane Witherspoon will be missed by family, friends, fellow musicians and the greater music community – while her music and indomitable spirit continues to uplift us all.