In the last of the Summer Jazz series, here is the final part of the Diana Krall posts. I hope you have enjoyed the rewind and next week the start of a brand new theme to the column.
The instrumentalists who have made Jazz one of the most popular and enduring music styles and who sometimes might take a back seat to the vocalists. We don’t tend to think of the accordion as being an instrument prominent in the jazz classics but it is……..hope you will tune in next week.
In this final part of the Diana Krall story I would like to look at her most recent work and also include some of the honours that she has received so far. It is also interesting to find out what an artist feels about their own work, so I have some quotes by Diana to include in the post. For the previous posts in the Diana Krall Story – https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/diana-krall/
Here is a list of her honors so far in her wonderful career.
In 2000, Diana Krall was awarded the “Order of British Columbia.”
In 2003 she was given an honorary Ph.D. (Fine Arts) from the University of Victoria.
In 2004, she was inducted into “Canada’s Walk of Fame.”
In 2005, she was made an Officer of the “Order of Canada.”
In 2008, “Nanaimo Harbourfront Plaza” was renamed “Diana Krall Plaza.”
She is an honorary board member of the “Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.”
Krall has been selected a Steinway & Sons Artist and performs exclusively with Steinway pianos in recording sessions, concerts, and public appearances.
Here is one of her quotes that I think sums up Diana Krall’s down to earth approach to the music industry and its demands.
“I’ve played a lot of piano bars, I sound like Humphrey Bogart, but you don’t begin at the Royal Albert Hall. You have to work very hard to be a jazz musician and you’ve got to do some things you might not want to, as in any job. I was sent to Europe and I was like a human jukebox, playing six hours a night.”
Where we left off last time….
In 2009 Diana Krall entered into a collaboration with the incredible vocalist Barbra Streisand and it was expected that combining their two very individual talents would produce a very different sound for Barbra Streisand. The album Love Is The Answer was released in the September. It was co-produced with Diana Krall’s long term musical collaborator Tommy LiPuma and featured Johnny Mandel’s arrangements of the tracks selected from the Great American Songbook.
Johnny Mandel had been in the business for several decades and had begun to play professionally in the early 40s. He had played trumpet and then trombone with the most popular bands of the day including Buddy Rich and Jimmy Dorsey. He went on to play and arrange for the top artists in the business including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and also Barbra Streisand.
Whilst there is no doubt about the polished performances and finish to the album, some critics felt that it was not quite as much a departure from previous Streisand albums as expected; especially with the input from Diana Krall and Tommy LiPuma. It is perhaps understandable that with two very seasoned musicians and performers such as Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mandel that they would stay within their comfort zone.
However, Barbra Streisand has millions of fans around the world and the album became her ninth Number 1 album on the Billboard 200 and this made her the only artist to have a number one album in the United States in five different decades. The album was certified gold in November giving Barbra Streisand 51 Gold records.
Here is a track from the album If You Go Away by Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen. Uploaded by babsfan2
In 2011 Diana Krall took a break and was in Sri Lanka for a time, returning in September 2012 to accompany Paul McCartney at Capitol for his live performance of his album ‘Kisses on the Bottom, aired live on the Internet. Also on September 13th Diana performed Fly Me to the Moon at Neil Armstrong’s memorial service in Washington D.C. Here is the song which was written by Bart Howard and a fitting tribute to a great pioneer of space.
A new album Glad Rag Doll was also released in October 2012, produced with T Bone Burnett, and featured a much older set of songs; pre-dating most of the Jazz Standards, having been written between the two World Wars. These included the title track Glad Rag Doll written by Milton Ager, Dan Dougherty and Jack Yellen, When the Curtain Comes Down by Carl Hoefle, Al Lewis and Al Sherman and I’m a Little Mixed Up by Betty James and Edward Johnson.
This departure from the Jazz Standards was Diana Krall at her most individual and also most comfortable; with her signature vocals bringing back the blues and vaudeville of the era perfectly. This was not an album for sweeping orchestral arrangements and it was stripped back to the basics of the original jazz and blues infused of course with the Krall magic. As you listen you can imagine yourself in a smoky bar watching a couple of musicians combining voice and instrument to create an intimate atmosphere. Diana also brought her husband Elvis Costello on board for this album providing ukulele, mandolin and guitar with backing vocals on the title track Glad Rag Doll. Diana said this of their work together on the album;
‘Some people might be wary of collaborating with their spouses, but I was thrilled to be working with Elvis.’ ‘The fact that he’s my husband didn’t really enter into it. There’s no power struggle in our marriage. Once we were in the recording booth, he’d give me a wink and a smile, and we had fun. Our lives get busy at home with the children, so it was lovely to have something else to share.’
Here is the title track uploaded by Alkiviadis
The most recent Diana Krall album, Wallflower, her 12th studio album was released in February 2015 by Verve records. The album is a return to the more well-known songs in recent music history, but all of course treated to the Diana Krall interpretation. Apart from the title track Wallflower written by Bob Dylan, other composers featured were artists who had inspired Diana Krall during her career such as Elton John, Gilbert O’Sullivan and Paul McCartney who had given Diana a song after their collaboration on his album Kisses on the Bottom in 2012. If I Take You Home Tonight was left off that album and Diana had this to say about the song.
“It was so great of Paul McCartney to give me that song.There’s always a few songs that don’t make an album. Not because they aren’t great. It just happens. So, I asked him if I could have it, and he just said sure.”
As another departure Diana Krall invited fellow Canadian David Foster to join her on the album. David is CEO of Verve records but also a 16-time Grammy Winner. As a composer, arranger, musician, songwriter and record producer he has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. These included Alice Cooper, Celine Dion, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Madonna and Rod Stewart. David Foster did the arrangements for Wallflower and also provided most of the piano parts which left Diana free to focus on her vocal performances.
“I had a chance to work with David Foster whom I’ve known for a long time. I felt that this was the right time and the right person to do this kind of record with. David has a jazz background, but he’s also a great pop producer and incredible accompanist which I discovered more and more as I was working with him. … I really made it clear that I didn’t want to do a jazz record. … I wanted to do a pop record and keep the integrity of the original melody and chord changes. I don’t think I’m abandoning anything. … I’ve always seen myself as a jazz pianist first. The major influence in my life is Nat King Cole, although I don’t put myself in the same category as him. I know that some will like this album and some will not. You cannot control that. … You just want to make a beautiful record that you love, coming from an honest place, and hope that everybody else will love it.”
Here is If I Take You Home Tonight written by Paul McCartney uploaded by nehoda69
Diana Krall is the only Jazz singer to have 8 albums debuting in at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums. She has won five Grammy Awards and eight Juno Awards.
I will leave you with a last quote from Diana about her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut and whilst she may not have taken to this route to the stars she has certainly achieved that ambition through her music.
“I built rockets and became good friends with astronauts. I played for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13 at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum [in Washington DC]. I met Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, and I went on the bus to Orlando with a lot of space people and watched the last launch at Cape Canaveral. It was one of the most awesome things in my life. I love to ride horses though I’m not very good, but I love to ride Western-style, down the beach. Two of the few things in life outside music that make me feel freest are skiing and swimming in the cold. I went skiing recently in Dubai. That’s how hardcore I am.”
I hope that you have enjoyed this series on this incredible and very beautiful musician. If you have not listened to Diana Krall before then I hope that it has introduced her unique voice and musical gifts to your attention.
Buy Diana Krall music on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Diana-Krall/e/B000AQ6RNS
More information about Diana Krall – www.dianakrall.com
Diana Krall – Tour Dates – http://www.dianakrall.com/tour-dates
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 – https://williampriceking.tumblr.com
Connect with William
Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/
Thank you for dropping in and hope you will tune in again next week for the brand new series on Jazz instrumentalists.