Live in Paris
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I don't own a single Diana Krall album. Any suggestions on where to begin?
Good for you! I have several albums and only ever played them once. I find it very puzzling why she is so popular. My loss I guess - try as I might I simply don't get it - and I normally like ALL genres even the prototypical formulaic throw back your hair sultry kind of dross.
I have most of her albums but there are only a few songs that I like:
I was Doing All Right, (From album: From This Moment On)
You Don't Know Me, (From Ray Charles very last album: Genius Loves Company)
Cry Me A River, (From album: The Look Of Love)
The Look Of Love, (From album: The Look Of Love)
Soldier In The Rain, (From Dave Grusin album: Two For The Road)
When I Look In Your Eyes, (From album: When I Look In Your Eyes)
They are just what I like, your taste may be different.
If you are getting only one of her album, I would suggest The Look Of Love.
My vote: Love Scenes. I have a bunch of her CD's/SACD's as well but am really not that big a fan. I think the reason she is so popular here is because she records well. Her discs sound good on a bad system and on a great system she is right there in the room. It's funny how a really good recording can help you overlook a somewhat mediocre musical performance. I think she has a really affected singing style that grates over time. Love Scenes is the least over the top in this regard and the trio arrangement (bass, piano and guitar) tend to deemphasize the schmaltz factor that I detect on many of her albums. If I were you I'd buy one disc at a time so you can be sure you dig her.
I have all the albums too...
I think she is a great player and a fine performer (seen her live a few times) and I like her take on the chestnuts as well as her new material. Her band is probably the best trio playing today - all very gifted.
Girl In The Other Room and Live In Paris are the CDs. The concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival is a great DVD - so is Live In Paris but its a different set then is on the CD.
BTW I use some of her tracks for reference - very well recorded as noted
Count another vote from an owner of all the Krall albums. My favorite release is "Stepping Out." John Clayton on bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums and Diana on piano and vocals. Like a lot of artist's first releases it's unadulterated and even exhibits a touch of rawness. The difference in sound also comes from it having been produced by Jim West instead of Tommy LiPuma who has produced every Dian Krall album since.
Aside from its simplicity the strength of "Stepping Out" is that this was before she was being marketed as a sexy songstress who plays piano. On it she plays to her strengths, piano first, then vocals. That gets lost to varying degrees in later releases.
"The Girl in the Next Room" is good in its own right. It is a very big departure from her other work. The all original material is a departure from her other releases which is primarily covers of jazz standards. The influence of Elvis Costello definitely shines through, of course, since he co-wrote almost every song. Aside from being a little dark (Costello again) it's #2 on my list.
My favorite cut off all her albums? "Peel Me a Grape" from "Love Scenes." Why? Just because I like it!
"The Girl in the Next Room" is good in its own right. It is a very big departure from her other work. The all original material is a departure from her other releases which is primarily covers of jazz standards. The influence of Elvis Costello definitely shines through, of course, since he co-wrote almost every song. Aside from being a little dark (Costello again)"
Fpeel expresses my feelings above. Most of her stuff w/orchestra is too produced/commercial for me. Cheers,
My vote is also for "The Girl in the other room". It is very well recorded and for me it makes her reach more than the "standards" she has recorded. The texture in her voice explores many variations which I really like and the songs themselves are very engaging. Someone said they are darker....perhaps, but they really suck you into the music.
I saw her live before I owned a recording and I must say, I would take a recording of that date rather than have her records...for the exception of Girl in the Other Room. Her quartet approached the music in a minimalist/improvisational way...plenty of space, subtlety. The background strings in many of her recordings, IMO, really detract from her talents.
"Good for you! I have several albums and only ever played them once. I find it very puzzling why she is so popular. My loss I guess - try as I might I simply don't get it - and I normally like ALL genres even the prototypical formulaic throw back your hair sultry kind of dross."
Well I must say Shadorne you nailed it for me. While I find many of the recordings to be quite good the artistry is just not involving. Your quote sums it up for me, I don't get it. She is a beautiful woman, obviously loves what she is is doing but at the end of the day she can be thrown into the category of performers that are marketed more for their looks than any substance they bring to the table.....mediocrity? maybe not quite that severe a inditement but she is not an inovative artist. Am I being too cynical? maybe but she just doesn't move me however much I like her persona.
Questioning her popularity is valid--but has to be seen in context of her timing. She came about at a time when active female, 'jazz' artists were seemingly few in number.
Her "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" was a good song and she does have good pitch and interesting phrasing. I, once enamored, am now seeing her lessened somewhat when compared to the the mega talents such as, Ella, (in her own category), and Nancy Wilson.
Does she really have any?
And I don't say that flippantly, I tried to like her, I saw her (boy, was it a boring dull show), and I used to sell her stuff at my shop. I concluded people who bought her were looking for someone new, unfortunately, new is not always better. She can't hold a candle to any singer/piano player I've heard. On her xmas album, the players were great, the recording great, then when she comes in, lookout, she takes the joy out of xmas! I was hoping with the birth of her children she'd retire.
Obviously, it has become popular to bash Krall, but not me. I have all of Diana Krall's CD's and like them all, although "Girl in the Other Room" is my least favourite of the batch. I really like "All for You", "Love Scenes", and the "Live in Paris DVD". There are aspects about a lot of her albums that I quite like. No, she's not the greatest out there, but that doesn't mean that her albums are not good or enjoyable. To each his own.
A lot of people like to compare newer vocal artists to the greats of the past such as Ella and that's totally fine. Not living up to that standard doesn't automatically dismiss someone as a artist. I also think, that to some extent, a lot of people hold the greats of the past on such a high pedestal that no one else could possibly compare. Talented singers and interpreters of song are not all long gone. As much as I like Ella, I personally find that Stacey Kent is a finer interpreter of standards than Ella. She has great timing, phrasing, and I think she delivers more feeling/emotion than Ella. Others can disagree and that's totally fine. Everyone has different tastes.
Lol, i have to correct you, it hasn't become popular, it's always been popular. But I agree, each to their own. I only commented since I really tried to like her, saw her, heard her many times, and still felt blah. Now Stacy Kent, her I like. She reminds me in some ways of Blossom Dearie.
I've also taken a liking to Diane Reeves, especially with her input on the movie goodnight and good luck. Loved Holly Cole when she first started out, one great live show, then one not, and now, she's either out of steam or material that suits her-maybe it's the weight gain.
Jane Monheit doesnt' float my boat either. And you wonder why we go back to the old singers...
Stacy Kent is a remarkable vocalist, I agree.
Well, as to comparisons, they're inevitable, even if they are unfair. Unlike comparing mythical ballplayers that 'I saw in the '20's and' '30's' as grampa would say, these performers ARE in their primes if you can slide a worthy recording of their work into/onto your turntable or CD player.
It's funny, I'll love a singer, rave about them and someone will just look at me blankly, not enjoying him or her nearly as much as I do. It's sort of the same chemistry that people have and like one another or not. Indefinable but real nonetheless.
I picked up Stepping Out based on some of the posts here. I agree it is one of her better recordings and for the reasons Fpeel cites--much less affected singing and more focus on her piano playing. I forgot to mention in my original post that her second release on GRP called "Only Trust Your Heart" is also very good. I like her version of "Just Squeeze Me".
The Jane Monheit thing disappoints me. She is so incredibly georgous, (think "I can't dance" with Buble, the video)I thought I'd love her. But, alas, don't like her phrasing or much else. Music selection is iffy too.
Now, Kent!!!! She's not great looking (like me) but her musical selections are awesome, and her voice, wow.
Now I think Stacey Kent is really cute. At least she doesn't have a hammer toe like Ms Monheit. We saw her once very upclose, which was unfortunate, because she wore sparkly open toe shoes, toes painted deep red, and her one toe kept crossing over. I kept laughing so hard I finally had to get up and go to the bar, but from the ankles up, she's hot. I also bust out laughing when she started scatting--ella she's not. Just so you don't think me unkind, I cried my eyes out when we saw Shirley Horn. Totally mesmerizing and wonderful.
"OK, I have all of the Diana Krall albums (I think??) and my fav by far is....... The Girl in the Other Room. It's not even close for me, I can't understand why no one else seemed to like it."
Macdad...I like this album very much. It's the only Krall recording I have. I'd like to get more of her work...anything you'd recommend that has a similar "feel" to this one?
So here we go - her new album "Quiet Nights" arrived from Amazon today.
As the title suggests, this is a very soft album with an eclectic, mostly lackluster set of chestnuts (gee that was fun to write).
According to the official blurb site:
"...The romantic album combines Brazilian and west coast jazz styles and features three recordings of songs by bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos Jobim.
'Quiet Nights' reunites Krall with arranger Claus Ogerman for the first time since the multi-platinum 2001 album 'The Look of Love.' The GRAMMY Award winning pianist and vocalist adds Paulinho Da Costa on percussion to her already outstanding quartet of Anthony Wilson (guitar), John Clayton (bass) and Jeff Hamilton (drums).
[ED NOTE this is the Live In Paris crew]
Krall co-produced the album with Tommy LiPuma, the tenth time they have worked together, and returned to Capital Studios in Hollywood with Al Schmitt engineering and mixing..."
She is much more the vocalist, a little bit off the mike, a bit breathier, staying in a tighter range. There are lots of phat strings in the best Nelson Riddle tradition. Her piano is much more of an accompaniment then a featured solo instrument.
The phrasings, timing and sensibilities you expect of her and her crew are all there - just constrained within a very tight range. Production of course is first rate.
All in all very grown up, very pretty and very sleepy. Certainly not the jazziest thing that has ever found its way on to my hard drive.
If you are a Diana fan go listen to samples. If you have not gotten into her - start anywhere but here.