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

Welcome to part three of the Diana Krall story and William takes us into the new millennium and a move away from the more traditional jazz that Diana had been producing until now.


The new millennium arrived and Diana Krall was certainly one of the top Jazz artists performing at the time. There had never been any question that she was an astonishing pianist but her voice was only improving year on year combining jazz phrasing from artists such as Peggy Lee with the influence of Bossa nova artists that she worked with.

In mid-2000 Diana Krall and Tony Bennett began a 20-city tour ‘Two for the Road’ including Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia with two sold out shows at the Hollywood Bowl and Radio City Music Hall in New York

Diana Krall commented, “It will be like a master class for me. I admire Tony immensely and to be able to watch and perform with him will be a great education for me.”

Here is Tony Bennett and Diana Krall with Alright, Okay, You Win to put you in the mood uploaded by plsdonttellmyhusband


Also in 2000 Diana recorded her sixth album The Look of Love with Verve with German composer and arranger Claus Ogerman and it was released in 2001. As one of the most prolific arrangers of the century, Otto Ogerman was very experienced across a number of fields including Rock, Pop, R&B, Jazz and Classical and had worked with some of the best in the business such as Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.

The album reached platinum status and was Diana Krall’s bestselling album, bestselling album of Canada, and bestselling album of 2001. It ranked number 5 in the Billboard magazine’s Top Jazz Albums of the Decade. The title track, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David: originally sung for the spoof Bond film Casino Royale by Dusty Springfield reached number 22 of the adult contemporary chart. Other tracks included I Remember You, Dancing in the Dark, and Love Letters.

The critics were not as positive about the album as the buying public with some criticising the obvious attempt at ‘crossover’ to pop. They also felt that under the influence of Claus Ogerman, who conducted either the London Symphony Orchestra or the Los Angeles Session Orchestra on all tracks, had turned the arrangements to a more ‘easy listening’ sound. It was felt that was at odds with the performances of both Diana Krall and her various collaborating musicians such as Russell Malone and Peter Erskine.

There were some particular tracks that were highlighted as being unimaginative such as the standards I Remember You and I Get along without You Very Well. However, if you read the majority of the reviews from those who bought the album at the time, her fans disagreed with the critics, which is why the album reached Platinum status. Here is one review in particular that addresses many of the issues raised by the critics.

The Sound Of Love… By J. Lund on September 18, 2001 Format: Audio CD

Sides will perhaps be taken as to whether or not THE LOOK OF LOVE is a step forward for Diana Krall, since it does veer in style from the expected. Not to marginalize her previous albums, but I consider this CD to be a major leap forward for an already impressive talent. Note the following: 1) Diana is accompanied by an orchestra here, rather than a small jazz combo (although of course Diana still contributes piano solos). 2) Those who liked some of the finger-snapping up-tempo tunes she has recorded in the past should prepare themselves–that isn’t the mood she is visiting this time around. 3) The music generally falls within the spirit or the letter of Bossa nova, and the expected degree of subtlety in this genre is maintained from the album’s beginning to finish.

The tone of the album isn’t sombre, but it does deal with adult emotions, specifically the ups and downs of love…and as anyone who is familiar with such bittersweet gems as I GET ALONG… can attest, the latter can be particularly poignant when the singer channels such tunes’ multi-layers of heartfelt emotion effectively, as Diana does here. Throughout, Diana’s voice is a flawless gem, not so much technically–although I have no complaints regarding that–as in her power to communicate from the soul to a degree that I find approaches that of the best 1950s-vintage Frank Sinatra concept albums. As did Sinatra, Diana often sings barely above a whisper, but at appropriate times raises her singing voice for dramatic effect.

Hopefully such a departure from previous CDs is an indication that Diana isn’t going to pander to the change-resistant faction of her fandom, but rather that she will risk her popularity by exploring whatever music that she is inspired to tackle at a given point in her career. Who says a traditionalist can’t think like a progressive?

Perhaps you might like to judge for yourself with the title track from the album. The Look of Love uploaded by daou007

In the autumn of 2001 Diana Krall began a world tour and concert at the Paris Olympia was released as her first live album. ‘Diana Krall – Live in Paris. She was accompanied by Grammy nominated Anthony Wilson jazz guitarist and composer who has continued to play with her since then. Also joining her on stage were John Pisanoon on acoustic guitar, John Clayton on bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums and Brazilian percussionist Paulinho Da Costaon. The album tracks ranged from Cole Porter, George Gershwin to more contemporary artists such as Billy Joel.

live in paris

On Just The Way You Are Diana was accompanied by Christian McBride on bass with a wonderful solo by Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone. For those fans that had been unable to attend any of Diana Krall’s concerts, this was an opportunity to experience the difference between a studio produced albums vs. ‘live’ performance.

Here is Just The Way You Are from the album recorded later at the Avatar Studios in New York uploaded by Alberto Jesús Salas Oblitas

The album won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album and the 2003 Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Billboard ranked the album at number 8 on the magazine’s Top Jazz Albums of the Decade.

Sadly in 2002 Diana Krall’s mother died of cancer within months of two of her mentors, Ray Brown and Rosemary Clooney.

Diana had met the British rock musician Elvis Costello backstage at the Sydney Opera House when she was on tour and in May 2003 they announced their engagement, marrying in just before Christmas that year. Elvis Costello had begun his career in the London pub rock scene in the early 70s and was associated with the first wave of punk rock later in the decade. Following his first album My Aim Is True he formed his backing band, The Attractions and went on to release two further albums by the end of the decade. All appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Their marriage brought two musical powerhouses together and the result was a new album with Diana’s own compositions and Elvis’s lyrics. The Girl in the Other Room was released in April 2004 and rose to the top five in the UK and top 40 album charts in Australia. Again there was some disagreement between her jazz ‘purist’ fans and those who were enjoying the more eclectic side to her music. Those who were used to listening to her more traditional versions of jazz standards were not quite ready to embrace her own compositions despite the obvious jazz components. Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall produced the album together and included jazz versions of blues as well as more contemporary songs by artists such as Joni Mitchell. Tracks include Stop This World – Mose Allison, title track The Girl in the Other Room with Elvis Costello, Black Crow – Joni Mitchell, Love Me Like A Man – Chris Smither.

Here is Almost Blue with lyrics by Elvis Costello originally recorded by him in 1982. Uploaded DianaKrallVEVO

As you will see from the reviews of the album the majority of Diana Krall’s fans were in favour of the new collaboration and resulting sound. album reviews

Also in 2004 Diana joined Ray Charles on his album Genius Loves Company for the song You Don’t Know Me. Verve records released Christmas Songs in 2005 followed by From This Moment On in 2006. This album provided all her fans with an opportunity to return to the jazz standards of her earlier albums and included such classics as Isn’t This A Lovely Day by Irving Berlin, From This Moment On by Cole Porter and Something’s Gotta Give by Johnny Mercer.

This was not the only production for 2006 as Diana and Elvis Costello welcomed twin sons in December of 2006.

To end this week’s post one of those classics From This Moment On by Cole Porter.

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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

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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 last part of the Diana Krall story –  Thanks Sally and William.



Summer Jazz, William Price King meets Ella Fitzgerald -Part Three – The Songbooks

William and his music

This week in the Ella Fitzgerald story a slight change of format as we look at the eight Songbooks that Ella recorded showcasing the best music of the 20th century.. Enjoy the concert of the most iconic songs of the era.

From 1956 to 1964 Ella Fitzgerald under the banner of the Verve record label recorded eight of her very popular ‘Songbooks’ beginning with Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, which was also her first album with the label.

These Songbooks are amongst the most well-known of her many albums and the songs ranged from the popular Jazz standards to lesser known songs from the composers and lyricists featured and also some cross over for her non-jazz fans.

The Cole Porter Songbook was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000 in an award that recognised excellence in the previous 25 years. Here is the fabulous I Get a Kick Outta of You…

The second Songbook followed quickly in 1956, Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook. Accompanied by a studio orchestra conducted by Buddy Bregman.. The four-sided Songbook was filled with many popular tracks including Have You Met Miss Jones, With A Song In My Heart, and My Funny Valentine..

Here is The Lady is a Tramp…

“Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook” in 1957 was the only Songbook on which the composer she interpreted played with her. Duke Ellington and his long-time collaborator Billy Strayhorn both appeared on exactly half the set’s 38 tracks and wrote two new pieces of music for the album: Tracks include Prelude To A Kiss, Take The A Train and Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. Duke Ellington composed and performed all the music with lyricists including Irving Mills, Johnny Hodges and Harry James. Here is Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.

The next Songbook in the series was in 1958 Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook. A studio album with music arranged and conducted by Paul Weston. It featured some of Irving Berlin’s most popular work and included Let’s Face The Music And Dance, Puttin’ On The Ritz, and Cheek to Cheek.. Here is Alexander’s Ragtime Band…

The next in the series is Ella Fitzgerald sings George and Ira Gershwin Songbook arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle. Some of the wonderful tracks included Someone To Watch Over Me, Strike Up The Band, I’ve Got A Crush On You.

The sixth Songbook came along two years later in 1961 Ella Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook another studio album and this was the only time that Ella worked with Billy May. Tracks included Stormy Weather, lyrics by Ted Koehler, That Old Black Magic, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and It’s Only A Paper Moon by E.Y Harburg and Billy Rose.

Number seven in the series was Ella Sings The Jerome Kern Songbook in 1963 again with Nelson Riddle..Tracks included All The Things You Are by Oscar Hammerstein and The Way You Look Tonight by Dorothy Fields.

The last in the eight Songbooks in 1964 was Ella Fitzgerald Sings Johnny Mercer in 1964 another arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle including Too Marvelous For Words lyrics by Richard A Whiting and When A Man Loves A Woman lyrics by Bernie Hanighen and Gordon Jenkins.

The Songbook series ended up becoming the singer’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work, and probably her most significant offering to American culture. The New York Times wrote in 1996, “These albums were among the first pop records to devote such serious attention to individual songwriters, and they were instrumental in establishing the pop album as a vehicle for serious musical exploration.”

You can enjoy the complete songbooks.

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williampricekingWilliam 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.

Links to website –
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Twitter – @wpkofficial
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