Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column -William Price King – Summer Jazz – Diana Krall Part Two

Welcome to the next artist in the Summer Jazz series and it is the turn of a current jazz superstar to be profiled and showcased. Diana Krall is a music powerhouse who has developed a wonderfully unique performance style that has contributed to the sale of over 15 million records worldwide. I will let William pick up the story.


For those of you who joined us last week here is how we finished.

In 1990 Diana moved to New York but played mostly in Boston with a trio consisting of herself, bassist Whit Brown and drummer Klaus Suonsaari. This was followed in 1993 with her debut album recorded with Jeff Hamilton, bassist John Clayton with input from Ray Brown. Stepping Out caught the attention of producer Tommy LiPuma who had already worked with some of the best musicians and singers in the business including Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis, Natalie Cole and Anita Baker.

Diana Krall’s first album, Stepping Out, was a wonderful showcase for her stripped back and natural singing voice. The tracks were back to the roots examples of her ability to combine jazz with a lighter element and a touch of humour. Many of the tracks have become classic Krall such as I’m Just a Lucky So & So and This Can’t Be Love. She also brings her own magic to On the Sunny Side of the Street and Body and Soul.

On the Sunny Side of the Street was originally written in the 1930s, allegedly by one of Diana Krall’s early influences Fats Waller, although it is thought he sold the rights to Jimmy McHugh with lyrics added by Dorothy Fields. The jazz standard has been covered by many of the top jazz artists over the decades including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey. It was also widely recorded by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Nat King Cole. I am sure they would all approve of Diana Krall’s version uploaded by RTL – Toujours avec vous

Her second album in 1995, Only Trust Your Heart, produced by Tommy LiPuma was for the American GRP record label. Diana brought her rich alto vocals to the trio ensemble which included Ray Brown or Christian McBride on Acoustic Bass, Lewis Nash on drums and Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone.

Tracks included some of the best loved jazz standards such as I’ve Got The World on a String and The Folks Who Live On The Hill. Here is the title track of the album written by Benny Carter and Sammy Cahn written in 1964. Uploaded by gallegomenendezg

As a traditionalist at heart, it was understandable that Diana Krall would pay homage to Nat King Cole, which she did with her next album for the GRP label, All For You in December 1996. Produced by Tommy LiPuma the line-up apart from Diana on vocals included Benny Green on Piano for If I had You, Paul Keller on Bass, Steve Kroon on percussion for Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Russell Malone with guitar. It is tough to pick a track from this album as they are all very evocative of that special time in music history when the Nat King Cole Trio were at the height of their popularity. Despite being a tribute to the trio, the album is very much Diana Krall with fresh and vibrant arrangements of the old classics.

Whilst 1996 ended on a high note with her latest album, 1997 started very well indeed as well with a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.

Diana was in the studio again with another album Love Scenes released in August 1997. The album reached number one in the Top Jazz Albums and went platinum in the US with a million sales. This time the trio for the whole album consisted of Diana on piano with Russell Malone on guitar and Christian McBride on acoustic bass. The tracks included All Or Nothing At All written by Arthur Altman with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. A hit for Frank Sinatra in the war years; since then for Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn and more recently Jack Jones. Here is this classic given the Krall treatment uploaded by The Pleasure of Jazz

The last Diana Krall album of the 90s was When I Look In Your Eyes in June 1999 and it was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year. This was a record in itself as that most prestigious of awards had not been given to a Jazz album for 25 years. Whilst not taking that award home it did win two Grammys for Best Jazz vocal and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. It reached number 9 on Billboard’s Top Jazz albums of the decade and went platinum in both Canada and the US.

This album featured two other producers in addition to Tommy LiPuma; David Foster and Johnny Mandel. A new group of musicians featured on the various tracks including Larry Bunker on Vibraphone, Pete Christlieb on saxophone and Lewis Nash on drums.

Diana Krall ended the 90s having become the brightest and most successful jazz artist by stripping the music back to its core roots and infusing it with her own special magic.

To end this week’s post here is a track from When I Look In Your Eyes the well-loved Cole Porter number, I’ve Got You Under My Skin uploaded by Puerto Libre

Buy Diana Krall’s music:

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About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION

Connect with William

Regular Venue 

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory:

and all the previous posts on jazz, classical and contemporary artists here:

Thank you for tuning in today and I hope you will join us again next Tuesday for the third part of the Diana Krall story –  Thanks Sally and William.



Summer Jazz – William Price King meets Ella Fitzgerald

William and his music

We continue with the Summer Jazz  with  the First Lady of Song Ella Fitzgerald. An incredible talent and listening to her voice makes me wish that I could have heard her singing live. This series was first posted in February 2015 so although some of you may have read it before, I hope you will enjoy listening to her performances again. For new readers, during the summer months, whilst William Price King is away, I will be repeating the early artists that we featured.

Ella_Fitzgerald_(1940)A young Fitzgerald, photographed by Carl Van Vechtan in 1940

Ella Jane Fitzgerald would become ‘The First Lady of Song‘ and was one of the most popular American Jazz singers for over 60 years. During her career she won 13 Grammy awards and sold 40 million copies of her over 70 Albums. She was also was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.

Her greatest hits include ‘Let’s Fall In Love’, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’, ‘Every time We Say Goodbye’ and ‘Summertime’. Her versatility and range enabled her to sing everything from soulful ballads through to the most popular jazz standards of the day. She worked with all the big names in the business including Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme. She travelled the world performing to packed houses and the audiences loved her.

Here is her wonderful performance of Summertime.…by George Gershwin and lyrics by Dubose Heyward from the 1935 hit show ‘Porky and Bess’

Her start in life was tough but Ella would later say that she appreciated how much the difficult times had matured her and how the memories helped her build the emotion into her performances. She also understood what it was like to face challenges and setbacks in life and she treasured her success all the more for them.

Her vocal range spanned three octaves (D♭3 to D♭6). Often referred to as the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella, she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

Her Early Years.

Ella was born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25th 1917 to William and Temperance (Tempie) but they split up shortly after Ella was born. Tempie and Ella moved to Yonkers, New York and Tempie moved in with Joseph Da Silva father to Ella’s half-sister Frances who was born in 1923. Jo supported the family by digging ditches and was a part-time chauffeur, while Ella’s mother Tempie worked in a Laundromat and restaurants. As she grew older Ella would take on small jobs to add to the family’s upkeep. Times were tough.  It was the height of the prohibition and the numbers racket business and Ella spent some time as a runner for some of the local gamblers.

There was however time for social activities and Ella and her friends spent time singing and dancing and would head into Harlem to watch the variety acts at the Apollo Theatre.

According to Ella’s biography on her official website her mother, Tempie died from serious injuries that she received in a car accident in 1932 when Ella was just 15. Ella went to live with Tempie’s sister Virginia and she was joined shortly afterwards by Frances when Joe suffered a fatal heart attack.

This was not a happy time for the young Ella and schooling took a back seat as she began to get into trouble with the police. Eventually she was sent to reform school which was unbearable, especially as she suffered beatings at the hands of the caretakers. Still only 15 she escaped and found herself on the streets along with thousands of others displaced by the Great Depression.

It was not until 1934 when 17 year old Ella’s luck would change. Her name was pulled out of a draw at the Apollo and she won the chance to compete on Amateur Night. Her first thought was to dance for the audience but having seen the Edwards Sisters, Ruth and Louise, considered the fastest tap dancing team in the business, she decided she could not compete and would sing instead.

The crowd was rowdy and the young Ella stood scared and ‘unpolished’ before them on stage. She asked the band to play Hoagy Carmichael’s “Judy,” a song she knew well as it was one of her mother’s favourites. As she began to sing the audience quieted down and at the end of her performance demanded an encore. She obliged and sang the flip side of the Boswell Sister’s record, “The Object of My Affections.” She won the first prize of $25.

Ella was not confident away from the stage but once in the spotlights she came alive.. She was to say “Once up there, I felt the acceptance and love from my audience,” Ella said. “I knew I wanted to sing before people the rest of my life.”

The musicians in the band that night were impressed with Ella and her singing voice. One of these was saxophonist and arranger Benny Carter. He knew talent when he heard it and he began to mentor Ella and introduce her around contacts in the music business. They would maintain that friendship and working relationship their entire lives.

Here is Ella singing I’ll Chase the Blues Away with Chick Webb in 1935.

With the backing of Benny and her growing audience of fans, Ella began entering and winning every available talent show in town. In January 1935 she won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House and there she met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb. Although he already had a male singer he gave Ella the chance to test with the band at a dance at Yale University… It was a tough crowd by in her usual style Ella won their hearts and Chick hired her to travel with the band for $12.50 a week.

Ella was on her way… time we will look at the rest of the 30s and the 40s as she sang her way into the hearts of a nation.


About William Price King.


William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect with William

Links to website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You can explore all of William’s series at this link:

Thanks for dropping by and hope you have enjoyed part one of the Ella Fitzgerald Story. Sally