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:

Find out more about Diana Krall:

Diana Krall Current 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

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.