The immortal Lady Diana

Sunday, 2 May 2004 — 10:09pm | Jazz, Music

So I just returned from the first performance of Diana Krall on her latest Canadian tour at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, where she will be for another two shows. Suffice to say, she places pretty high on the list of people Nick wants to be – and while I’m halfway there piano-wise, the vocals have a long way to go. (Observe Steve as he takes the preceding statement as a cue to pose a similarly self-indulgent question to himself on his blog concerning people whom he wants to be, proceeds to laud Joe Clark and Paul Simon – not necessarily in that order – and receives a boatload of comments from his readership while the responses to this here post remains strictly in the single-digits.)

I was first introduced to Ms. Krall – or would that be Mrs. Costello? – back in 1997 or so when she released Love Scenes, which was being promoted on Bravo!, which I watched all the time because it was the only station at the time carrying Red Dwarf. As Dirk Gently would point out, everything’s connected, see. But I digress. Now, back then I had yet to become the jazz-head I am today, with the swing rhythms permanently hardwired into my brain and the corresponding pen-drumming and whatnot. In the past few years I have really come to appreciate her work, and it was a pleasure to finally see her perform live.

I won’t pretend for a moment that the Grammys (should be “Grammies”) and the like are very often legitimate, but if ever there was a deserving artist in recent years, it’s Diana Krall. It’s impressive what a controlled pianist she is when, often at the same time, she sings with one of the most recognizable voices in modern jazz, a sultry alto with an enunciation that could be described as smooth – not that my description counts for much, because she really speaks (sings?) for herself. Watching a jazz musician of her calibre – not to mention the diversity of her repertoire: everything from Irving Berlin to Joni Mitchell to her husband – is an experience in itself, in the sense that she and her band play with such professionalism, but by the very nature of their music seem as laid back as ever.

If she’s coming by you on your tour, you owe it to yourself to try and get tickets – though I warn you, that is in itself a difficult and expensive proposition. But I guarantee you it will be worth it, and even if you are not quite into contemporary jazz, this would make a more than fitting introduction.


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