Jazz or Just Easy Listening ?
She is one of the most important jazz musician of all time. Her sales are high and made a strong influence on singers and on music marketing.
Most of the recordings, in my opinion are JAZZ, and the rest are jazz-oriented.
If you don´t know her old recording, you don´t know what you´re missing, and you will find why she became the jazz-icon !
Diana Krall is a wonderful jazz singer and a very good jazz pianist !
Don't let this massive marketing lead you to a soft listening or easy-listening !
By Leonardo Barroso
Stepping Out - 1993
Krall's first recording remains an eye and ear opener. Without the overt schmaltz, Krall proves a sincere singer and, more so, a fine pianist whose talent in this area would later become sublimated. If you want to hear not only the roots of Krall's jazzier and romantic side, not to mention the fun, you'll get it all on this remastered CD, with a bulletproof rhythm section of the peerless bassist John Clayton and always on-the-money/in-the-pocket drummer Jeff Hamilton. The program contains several songs that have become Krall's signature tunes. "Straighten Up & Fly Right" is typically cute as she nicely modifies the lyric. "Frim Fram Sauce" is easily swung and wittily rendered. Several standards such as the easy swinging, bluesy "I'm Just a Lucky So & So" with its impressive bridge piano or the straight read of "Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear From Me" seem like child's play. She uses delayed, staggered phrasings with energetic pianistics during "As Long As I Live," jumps in more pronounced and driving tones for "This Can't Be Love," and cleverly deviates from the melody in now typical Krall-ian fashion for the previously unreleased "On the Sunny Side of the Street." She's most convincing on the unaccompanied take of the classic "Body & Soul" and goes into semi-classical mode with Clayton's bowed bass during her lone original "Jimmie." There are two instrumentals: "42nd Street" swings very well with flourishes inserted here and there on a slight re-arrange, while Klaus Suonsaari's (not Charlie Parker's) "Big Foot" sports heavy modal introductory chords, impressive stop starts on a blues strut, and the most interaction during this set. Krall's fans should consider this an essential recording in her growing discography, and perhaps in many ways her best.
Only Trust Your Heart - 1995
Canadian singer/pianist Diana Krall moved up to an American major label, GRP Records, with her second album, Only Trust Your Heart, having made her debut, Stepping Out, with the Canadian independent Justin Time Records two year earlier. The approach is basically the same, although her supporting musicians are different. Tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine sits in on three tracks, "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?," "I Love Being Here with You," and the Ray Brown instrumental "CRS-Craft," but otherwise this is piano trio music, with drummer Lewis Nash and either Brown or Christian McBride on bass. Krall is a neo-traditionalist with a legitimate pedigree detailed by Michael Bourne in his liner notes: an isolated upbringing in British Columbia, playing her father's Fats Waller 78s; classical piano lessons while playing in the school jazz band; a Vancouver Jazz Festival scholarship to the Berklee College of Music; a Canadian Arts Council grant to study with Jimmy Rowles in Los Angeles. The result is a performer steeped in traditional acoustic jazz piano playing and singing, and Krall demonstrates her talents on this album, soloing freely on the tunes, which are mostly standards, of course, and singing in a sturdy alto. It says something about the state of jazz circa 1995 that, at age 30, such a performer was getting a big promotional push. Krall was much more than a pretty face and a wave of blonde hair playing old-fashioned jazz, but she was that, too. So, once again in major-label jazz, it was back to the future for a record that, for all intents and purposes, could have been recorded in 1954 instead of 1994, except, of course, that that would have been ten years before the artist was born.
All For You - 1996
Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Hit That Jive Jack." Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber "I'm Through With Love" and "If I Had You." Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of "Hit That Jive Jack," although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall's vocal on "If I Had You," and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.
Love Scenes - 1997
By Robert Spencer
Diana Krall is a singer out of another era: instead of wailing endless melismas, she is as cool and sophisticated as Carmen McRae. She's breathy in a way that evokes days when male-female relationships seemed more relaxed and less politically charged, not to mention more mysterious and alluring instead of in-your-face. Indeed, were it not for the thoroughly modern production values, this could pass for a record from a lost age. The playlist could have been put together by Bob Thiele at Impulse! of the early Sixties; six of the twelve selections date from the Thirties or earlier, and none from after 1965. Of course, this is perfectly understandable, for no one was writing songs like this after 1965. These are love songs from the age of glossy romances: Krall could be singing to Cary Grant or Fred Astaire-from Bacall to Krall is not a big jump. She shows virtually no awareness of anything in between.
Does she pull it off? Sure. The backing is spare and tasteful, providing an excellent setting for her delivery even at its most whispery. Christian McBride's bass is, as is his wont, completely unflashy and supportive of the musical mood. He never misses a beat and provides depth and strength. Krall seems to play more off Russell Malone on electric guitar, and he proves a worthy and empathetic foil. On “They Can't Take That Away From Me” his chording sometimes sounds so pianistic that I wonder why she didn't just play his part. Krall's piano playing is somewhat abbreviated, but her yearning solo on “Gentle Rain” shows off the concentrated power of her playing. Don't miss “Garden in the Rain,” either.
“They Can't Take That Away from Me” is another highlight. Krall, befitting the after-hours feel of the entire recording, takes it down a peg or two from the cheerful verve of Frank Sinatra's version. Her take is intriguing for the unusual emotional spin her breathy delivery gives the song. Unusual in the opposite direction is Billy Myles' blues “My Love Is,” which Krall tackles with a bit more vigor but no less cool.
Love Scenes somewhat resembles Krall's 1995 Impulse! album, All for You, although that recording included Benny Green on piano, whereas here Krall (and Malone's guitar) fill that space just fine. Another solid effort from a singer with a bright future; if pop music ever turns toward beauty and grace again, Diana Krall will no doubt be right in the thick of things. Heck, she may have a hand in starting it turning.
When I Look In Your Eyes - 1998
With this CD, the young Canadian singer/pianist/arranger joins forces with producer Tommy LiPuma, who places his orchestral stamp on eight of the 13 tracks. It is the latest attempt to push Krall to an even wider pop/smooth jazz audience than she already enjoys. After all, Nat Cole, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson, among others, went this route. Wonder if she'd agree the cuts sans strings were more fun and challenging? Krall does get to it with central help from bassists John Clayton and Ben Wolfe, drummers Jeff Hamilton and Lewis Nash, and guitarist Russell Malone, all stellar players. Krall's voice is sweet and sexy. She's also flexible within her range and at times a bit kitschy, mostly the hopeless romantic. On this CD of love songs, it's clear she's cool but very much in love with this music. Bob Dorough's "Devil May Care" and the insistent "Best Thing for You" really click. Favorites are a decent Shearing-esque "Let's Fall in Love" with vibist Larry Bunker; a suave slow bossa on the opening number, "Let's Face the Music"; the lusher-than-lush title track; and especially an incredible horn-fired fanfare intro/outro on the hip "Pick Yourself Up." Some might call this fluff or mush, but it depends solely on your personal taste. This will certainly appeal to Krall's fans, lovers, and lovers at heart.
The Look Of Love - 2001
Diana Krall has a good voice and plays decent piano, but this somewhat ridiculously packaged Verve CD seems like an obvious attempt to turn her into a pop icon, and sex symbol to boot. The bland arrangements by Claus Ogerman (who conducts the London Symphony Orchestra or the Los Angeles Session Orchestra on each track) border on easy listening, while Krall and her various supporting musicians, including John Pisano, Russell Malone, Christian McBride, and Peter Erskine (among others), clearly seem stifled by their respective roles. There are plenty of strong compositions here, including standards like "I Remember You," "The Night We Called It a Day," and "I Get Along Without You Very Well," but the unimaginative and often syrupy charts take their toll on the performances. What is even sillier is the label's insistence on attempting to photograph the artist in various sultry poses, which she evidently wants to discourage by refusing to provide much of a smile (the rumor is that she's not happy with this part of the business at all). If you are looking for unchallenging background music, this will fit the bill, but jazz fans are advised to check out Krall's earlier releases instead.
Live In Paris - 2002
Recorded "live" at the Paris Olympia, Live in Paris offers listeners Diana Krall's understanding of the musical techniques of composition, piano, and vocal improvisation on 12 songs from the Great American Songbooks of Cole Porter,Harold Arlen, George and Ira Gershwin, and contemporary artists Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel. Accompanied by the award-winning Anthony Wilson on guitar, John Pisano on acoustic guitar, John Clayton on bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums, and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion as well as the Orchestra Symphonies European on "Let's Fall in Love" and "I've Got You Under My Skin," the lovely vocalist heightens your listening pleasures with distinctive phrasings and tangible pathways to inside the creative imagination by getting inside harmony, the changes, and melodic structures. On Joel's "Just the Way You Are," Krall is accompanied by Christian McBride on bass, Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone, Lewis Nash on drums, and Wilson on guitar, among others. This song also resides on the soundtrack to the film The Guru and is probably one of the best ballads on the set due to the great solo from Brecker. His powerful but sensitive playing adds the ultimate expression and approach to the melody -- one with attitudinal preparation, which is always necessary for a song that has such familiarity and association with another musician. For those who may not have heard Krall perform "live," this recording will give you a firsthand account of the ambience and excitement of a musical evening with her.
The Girl In The Other Room - 2004
As wonderful as these songs are, however, they serve a utilitarian purpose; they act as bridges to the startling, emotionally charged poetics in the material Krall has composed with Costello. Totaling half the album, this material is full of grief, darkness, and a tentative re-emergence from the shadows. It begins in the noir-ish melancholy of the title track, kissed with bittersweet agony by Gershwin's "Summertime." The grain in Krall's pained voice relates an edgy third-person tale that is harrowing in its lack of revelation and in the way it confounds the listener; it features John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. In "I've Changed My Address," Krall evokes the voices of ghosts such as Louis Armstrong and Anita O'Day in a sturdy hip vernacular that channels the early beat jazz of Waits and Allison. The lyric is solid and wonderfully evocative not only of time and place, but of emotional terrain. Krall's solo in the tune is stunning. "Narrow Daylight," graced by gospel overtones, is a tentative step into hope with its opening line: "Narrow daylight enters the room, winter is over, summer is near." This glimmer of hope is short-lived, however, as "Abandoned Masquerade" reveals the shattered promise in the aftermath of dying love. "I'm Coming Through" and "Departure Bay," which close the set, are both underscored by the grief experienced at the loss of Krall's mother. They are far from sentimental, nor are they sophomoric, but through the eloquence of Krall's wonderfully sophisticated melodic architecture and rhythmic parlance they express the experience of longing, of death, and of acceptance. The former features a beautiful solo by guitarist Anthony Wilson and the latter, in its starkness, offers memory as reflection and instruction. This is a bold new direction by an artist who expresses great willingness to get dirt on her hands and to offer its traces and smudges as part and parcel of her own part in extending the jazz tradition, through confessional language and a wonderfully inventive application that is caressed by, not saturated in, elegant pop.
Christmas Songs - 2005
On her first full-length Christmas album, pianist/vocalist Diana Krall delivers a smoky, sophisticated, and slightly melancholy album perfectly suited to accompany egg nog cocktails and romantic afterglow holiday affairs. Although there isn't anything unexpected on Christmas Songs -- Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" is as close to obscure as it gets -- Krall coos life into such standards as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve," and "I'll Be Home for Christmas." It also doesn't hurt that she gains top-notch support from the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, whose urbane arrangements help bring to mind similar works by such iconic vocalists as Nat King Cole, June Christy, and Frank Sinatra. But it's not all deep sighs and bedroom eyes; on the contrary, Krall keeps things swinging with such uptempo numbers as the joyous "Jingle Bells," "Winter Wonderland," and the Blossom Dearie-inflected "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." If you like your holiday albums cool and classy, Christmas Songs is a stocking stuffer that's sure to please.
From This Moment On - 2006
Returning to the large ensemble sound of her 2005 success, Christmas Songs, pianist/vocalist Diana Krall delivers a superb performance on 2006's From This Moment On. Although having received a largely positive critical response for her creative departure into original singer/songwriter jazz material on 2004's The Girl in the Other Room, here listeners find Krall diving headlong into the Great American Songbook that has long been her bread and butter. While she's always been a pleasant presence on album, Krall has developed from a talented pianist who can sing nicely into an engaging, classy, and sultry vocalist with tastefully deft improvisational chops. But it's not just that her phrasing and tone are well-schooled. Having long drawn comparisons to such iconic and icy jazz singers as Julie London and Peggy Lee, Krall truly earns such high praise here. In fact, tracks like "Willow Weep for Me" and "Little Girl Blue" are drawn with such virtuosic melancholy by Krall as to be far and away some of the best ballads she's put to record. Similarly impressive big swing numbers like "Come Dance with Me" showcase her muscular rhythmic chops both vocally and on the keys. Backing her here is the always wonderful Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, featuring some punchy and solid solo spots by trumpeter Terell Stafford, as well as the rhythm section talents of guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Robert Hurst, and drummer Jeff Hamilton.
Quiet Nights - 2009
by Marcia Hillman
Diana Krall's new CD arrives just in time to greet the “lazy, hazy days” and nights of summer. On this outing, she is on vocals and piano, accompanied by Anthony Wilson on guitar, bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton, percussionist Paulinho Da Costa and a lush orchestra consisting of a full string section augmented by flutes, French horns, oboe, tuba and vibes.
The material is a selection of familiar American songbook standards and three Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes--”The Boy From Ipanema,” “Este Seu Olhar” (sung in Portuguese) and the title song (with Gene Lees' English lyrics). All of the arrangements have been done by the legendary Claus Ogerman, who worked on the bossa nova albums of Jobim, João Gilberto, Astrid Gilberto and Stan Getz among others. Ogerman also did the arrangements for Krall's last CD, The Look of Love (Verve, 2008) and since that CD did well, the decision was made to go with the same formula.
Krall's voice certainly suits the bossa genre. She is at her soft, sultry and sexy best, singing each song straight through, just breathing in and breathing out, and adding just enough single-note piano solos (á la Jobim) on each. Even though Krall is not a belter, the orchestra does not overpower her--it seems to wrap around her like a soft shawl. Everything is done in the bossa tempo with the exception of “I've Grown Accustomed To His Face” (done as a very slow ballad) and “Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” (another ballad which features some very silky guitar work by Wilson). There are two bonus tracks that are also non-bossas--The Bee Gees' “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” treated in a gospel fashion, and “Every Time We Say Goodbye” which spotlights the string section in all its glory.
The CD is a peaceful oasis of quiet nights that we could all use in contrast to our stressful, hectic days. Krall ably provides the ultimate atmosphere for relaxing.
Track Listing:Where Or When; Too Marvelous For Words; I've Grown Accustomed To His Face; The Boy From Ipanema; Walk On By; You're My Thrill; Este Seu Olhar; So Nice; Quiet Nights; Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry; How Can You Mend A Broken Heart; Every Time We Say Goodbye.
Personnel: Diana Krall: vocals/piano; Anthony Wilson: guitar; John Clayton: bass; Jeff Hamilton: drums; Paulinho Da Costa: percussion.