by Constance P. Hill
Diana is a name that is SUITED FOR fame, good looks, impeccable breeding, and just the right male accessory. Diana Krall embodies all of that, AND is able to carry it off with the enduring grace of a princess.
As one of the world’s greatest jazz talents, Diana Krall has made an impression that transcends her small town roots and has catapulted her to the top of the music industry. All the while maintaining her reputation and sidestepping the usual celebrity antics. Diana is a name that is synonymous with fame, good looks, impeccable breeding, and just the right male accessory. Diana Krall embodies all of that and is able to carry it off with the enduring grace of a princess.
Diana Krall, the girl from Nanaimo, British Columbia, has been breaking all the rules. For the past ten years, she has been demonstrating that a jazz musician can enjoy mass appeal without sacrificing her jazz foundation. The singer/acoustic pianist became the top-selling artist on the Verve roster, as well as being becoming jazz’s top-selling vocalist. She is a phenomenon who has become faithful to her bop and swing roots.
Diana Krall began studying the piano when she was four. She was reared on jazz and by the age of fifteen, she was performing in local restaurants. While still a teenager, she was awarded a scholarship to the Berkley College of Music in Boston. Upon completion of two years in Boston, she moved to Los Angeles where she began to meet such jazz legends as John Clayton, pianist/singer Jimmy Rowles and the late bassist Ray Brown. It was Ray Brown who took her under his wing in addition to the encouragement offered to Diana, he also played on some of her 1990 albums.
Diana spent three years in Los Angeles before moving to Toronto, and it was a Canadian label that provided her first opportunity to record. In 1993, the Montreal-based Justin Time Records released Krall’s debut album, “Stepping Out”.
The album “When I Look in Your Eyes” enjoyed such astounding success that, in addition to spending 52 weeks in the #1 position on Billboard’s jazz chart, the album also won a GRAMMY in two categories.: Best Jazz Vocal Performance and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical as well, “When I look in Your Eyes” received a GRAMMY nomination in the Album of the Year category. “When I look in Your Eyes” went platinum in the United States (where it sold over one million copies), double platinum in Canada, platinum in Portugal, and gold in France. In 2000, it won a Juno Award for the Best Vocal Jazz Album.
In September 2001, when “The Look of Love” was released, it entered the Billboard 200 at #9 and sold 95,000 copies in the U.S. in the first week alone. Also, it went quadruple platinum in Canada and platinum in Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and Portugal. “The Look of Love” went gold in France, Singapore, and England.
At the Juno Awards, “The Look of Love” was a winner in three categories: Best Artist, Best Album, and Best Vocal Jazz Album. Diana also received the Order of British Columbia in 2000 for her goodwill ambassador role and frequently acknowledges Nanaimo as her birthplace.
The new CD “ The Girl in the other Room” shows us a soulful, sexy side of Diana Krall as a singer and songwriter. It demonstrates that Diana “more than most singers, knows what’s right for her, and she knows how to make it happen musically”, said Al Schmitt in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
The title song of the record “The Girl In The Other Room” is a Krall original. It is a portrait of a woman distracted by love and was co-written with Elvis Costello. When asked about the experience of collaborating, Diana said , “ it works when you have the right collaborator. It’s nice to write with someone like Elvis Costello, duh !”
One is drawn to the elegant and effortlessly swinging accompaniament of Krall’s piano and that of her long- time partners in rhythm: Jeff Hamilton on drums and bassist John Clayton.
Krall composed the music alone, collaborating with her husband, Elvis Costello on the songwriting for three of the songs. Remarking on their working relationship, Krall said, “I wrote the music and then Elvis and I talked about what we wanted to say. I told him stories and wrote pages and pages of reminiscences, descriptions and images. He put them together into tighter, lyrical form. For the song “Departure Bay”, I wrote down a list of things that I love about home; things that I realized were different, even exotic”.
The spirit of Jimmy Rowles, Krall’s teacher, comes through in “I’ve Changed My Address” and is reflective of Krall’s apprenticeship in a jazz club. “Everything looks pretty much the same but the place is now a sports bar and there is a pool table where there used to be a piano” explains Krall.
In June, Diana’s name will be added to the Walk of Fame, along with nine others who have contributed greatly to Canadian life.
The current tour includes The Hummingbird Centre for four nights at the end of May, and was kicked off with a free concert inside Union Station on April 28. The acoustics were great and Diana sang several of the songs from the CD, beginning with “The Girl In The Other Room” and ending with “Love Me Like A Man”. She was interviewed onstage by Jann Arden and escorted from the backstage by her beaming husband, Elvis Costello.