Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Saloff, "Spider" (Diane)
Saloff, "Spider" (Diane), singer; b. Camden, NJ, 14 October 1960. She grew up in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Most of childhood in Woodbury NJ. "Spider" was a nick-name that she acquired in college because of her long thin arms and legs and short torso. Her mother is Florence Kelleher Saloff (born 7/25/20). Her father was Robert Saloff (born 12/10/17 died 8/6/86). Her sisters are Dawn Pirrotta and Lynne Earnhart.
Heard worldwide as the co-star and co-creator of the internationally syndicated weekly public radio series Words and Music, Spider Saloff has recently recorded and performed the American Premier of the newly discovered ballad "So This Is Love" written by Billy Strayhorn. And, as one of the rare officially sanctioned acts of the Gershwin Centennial, her concert Spider Saloff Singes Gershwin has been touring since 1996 and headlined the St. Petersburg Gershwin Centennial Festival Celebration in Russia. Saloff has headlined concert venues worldwide from New York's Birdland, Joe's Pub, The Firebird, Michael's Pub, The Russian Tea Room, The Algonquin and The Cafe Carlyle to The Cinegrill (Los Angeles), The Plush Room (San Francisco), The Napa Valley Opera House, The Annenberg Theater (Palm Springs) and Chicago's famed houses The Gold Star Sardine Bar, Toulouse on the Park, The Fairmont Hotel, The Plaza Tavern and the venerable Green Mill. Other leasing venues include The Smithsonian Institute (Washington D.C.), Wilmington Grand Opera, The Castro Theater (San Francisco), The Triple Door (Seattle) and Dick Hyman's Jazz In New York City. She frequently appears in jazz festivals worldwide and has headlined orchestral jazz concerts with the Illinois Symphony, The Everett Symphony and the Wallingford Symphony, among others. Spider Saloff has recorded and performed with such jazz luminaries as Tom Harrell, Nick Brignola, Ray Drummond, Harry Allen and Dick Hyman. She has worked frequently with Larry Novak, Tony Monte, Steve LaSpina, and John Colianni (Mel Torme's pianist for five years). Her husband is Robert Drake (born 2/13/51).
1938 (1990); Sextet (1995); The Memory of All That - A Celebration of Gershwin (1997); A New Set Of Standards - The Songs of Robert Yaseen (1998); Cool Yule (2000)
Television and radio broadcasts:
The Bonnie Hunt Show (CBS), The Steve Baskerville Show (CBS), a one-hour feature on the Noteworthy Women series (Public Radio), and Studs Terkel (WFMT). She has done the voice-over work for several National television commercials, and has even recorded the audio narration for Chicago's Shedd Aquarium with television/radio legend Norman Mark; Co-star and co-creator of the internationally syndicated Public Radio series Words and Music on PBS radio.
A five-time winner of the prestigious MAC Award, including Best Female Jazz Vocalist, presented by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets, she also received a special citation for her musical contributions from NARAS (presenter of the Grammy Awards).