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.

Buy Diana Krall music:

More information about Diana

Diana Krall Current Tour Dates:

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



A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Diana Krall – the Finale


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 –

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

Buy the Album:

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.

You can buy all her music on Amazon and I recommend that you bring her magic into your lives.


More information about Diana Krall –

Diana Krall – Tour Dates

About William Price King

Price et Eric au Studio Marilyn

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.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

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