this is my favorite Krall recording so far. this one is back to her small combo Jazz roots. there are a few cuts with a string section.....but it sounds natural and in the same acoustic. the band is tight, Krall's piano playing is very good and outstanding in places. the recording is very natural and the soundstage is believable with an excellent sense of presence. Krall swings and is in very good voice.
the highlight for me is Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You"......which is a solo with Diana and her piano.....i got this disc yesterday afternoon and i have already played this cut 4 times......very, very special.
this cd will be in my 'heavy rotation' for awhile......a must buy.
i have not seen/heard the dvd of this performance but have read that it is also very good.
I came to this thread hoping to find out something about a new recording that I've not yet heard. Instead I read reviews from a couple of people that seem bent on insulting anyone that likes this music. If you have anything objective to say about this recording, then us know why you didn't like it. I think that the sales of her past CD's tell the tale. She's the biggest thing in jazz today, and if you can't handle that, don't post in forums that are above your intellect.
Elmuncy makes the mistake of confusing insulting the singer with insulting those that like the music. Perhaps this is intentional. I never criticized Ms. Krall's fans; I just said that I thought that she was not very good. If popularity was the barometer by which we measure talent then why own anything but Abba discs or Ford autos? Perhaps a side effect of listening to her music is that it makes your skin thin. But I am not sure due to my limited intellect. As to criticism, I was quite clear that I find her delivery to lack emotion. If you would like an expansion on this, her phrasing seems to have a sameness, combined with a tendency to hue closly to the middle registers and a rhythmic homoginazation that causes the music to lack character. She has not addressed any of this in her latest outing. Contrast this with Mitchell, Sinatra or, to pick someone from the current crop of jazz lite chantuses, Cassandra Wilson and you will realize how free of character her performance truly is.
Viridian, I think your definition of what a good singer that you like is quite interesting, but a little clumsy. Let's take a singer that may be the most annoying to me: Mariah Cary. Mariah has 1) her own very distinctive style 2) sings with emotion 3) has an amazing vocal range delivering each performance in a unique way. Maybe you do not like her music... but as a vocalist you should love her, using your criteria that you set above for a good singer that you enjoy.
Personally, Mariah annoys me to no end. I think she could butcher any song given to her without even trying.
Many times singers will sing very plainly on their albums, but will be MUCH better in concert. Let's take Jewel for example. Whoever records Jewel's albums should be fired. I have seen her three times in concert, and her voice is very very good. On her records, she is recorded like she is singing through a PVC tube. Jewel even joked that she sounds like kermit the frog on one of her songs on her first album (this alone should convince her to get different people to record her albums).
Anyway, I have not heard Krall in concert, but she may sing very differently to a live audience.
I have several of Krall's albums, and I think she is pretty good. I would not put her in the league of say... Jennifer Warnes or say Marie Claire Heron, BUT she is pretty good for a modern day pop vocalist.
I do like Jewel better than Krall though because of my experiences seeing Jewel live. Jewel is a killer blonde with a very funny sense of humor who is armed with a great voice.
This CD is filled with more up tempo sound than her previous CD's. Even though the songs are the same, there's more instrumentation, and her voice, it's just awsome. Throw in the CD, pour a glass of wine, and sit back and enjoy.
I bought the recording yesterday, and have been listening to it steady since then. The album is well recorded, and is done with small forces, instead of the full orchestra that some of the later albums had. She also puts a new spin on some of the more familiar pieces. If you're a fan, you'll love it. Now to address the critism. The topic here was was her new album, not whether you think that she's any good in the first place. I know that this is subjective, one mans punch is another's poison. I also realize that quantity of sales is no guarantee of quality. But it does come in to the picture. The all-music guide to jazz praised her overall, especially All of You, the Nat King Cole tribute, and gave it 5 stars. The Penguin Guide to Jazz gave her 4 stars for Love Scenes, and three for the rest. They also stated that: Krall sounds a generation older than her chronological age. She has a rich, resonant contralto and a preference for standard repertiore. This is all meaningless, or course, unless listening to her takes you to another world. I can shut my eyes and travel to another world when I hear her. Enough
I think the album is quite nice. Her playing is adequate to good and her voice is warm, full, appealing. She sticks to what she can do well, both in terms of repertoire and technique. The recording quality is pretty good considering that it was a live venue. Apart from a couple of times when she gets high up on the piano, hits it hard, and overloads the mic preamps, there's nothing offensive about the sound and much to like. Not a classic, perhaps, but pleasant entertainment.
Gosh--And she's my favorite singer of the '90s and '00s!! I am bowled over by her performances and will buy everything she records. I do have the DVD video performance of her Paris concert and on my mid-priced Toshiba DVD player it doesn't sound as good as her other performances on CD. You might be interested that the Paris concert sold out and if you pan the audience you'll see mostly young/middle age folks, not the semi-retired generation I would have assumed. Someone mentioned Casandra Wilson. I bought one highly recommended CD of hers and listened to it once and cannot seem to be drawn to it again. Strange how individualized musical tastes are, eh?
A couple of my other recent favorites are Stacy Kent and Nora Jones. The audio quality on Stacy's CDs is super.
I agree with Bmatth about Stacey Kent and Nora Jones (particularly the latter's first recording). Although some people erroneously think that Kent is English (she is married to an Englishman who acccompanies her on her recordings and lives there), her enunciation is clearly American; sometimes so much so as to be a little annoying.
I really think, as I mentioned above, that Tierney Sutton and Christine Tobin are head and shoulders above Diana Krall. It is something of a shame that they are not better known, but on the other hand it's great not having to "share" them with the masses!
Interesting discussion. I "discovered" Ms. Krall just a couple of years ago and immediately took a liking to her work. In my view, having since acquired and become familiar with all of her releases a trend has seemingly emerged. I'm curious if anyone else sees it this way, so feel free to comment. Like I could stop any of you!
Diana Krall's earliest releases were, IMO, the best of the bunch because she was matched with excellent supporting musicians in small ensembles and the arrangements were built around her strengths. The direction and production were equally as good. The resulting products had a "small, smokey piano bar" flavor to them (without the second hand smoke, of course!). Listening to them leaves me with the feeling that the performers were having way too much fun making them. So while maybe not technically outstanding in some respects, they are entertaining and that's largely the name of the game.
Her early releases showed Ms. Krall to be a fairly good piano player with a decent singing voice with an added bonus of her being easy on the eyes. Unfortunately, once the music industry and associated markets' collective attentions were shone on Ms. Krall there has been an obvious attempt to turn her into what she is not: a glamorous, sexy singing star who can also play piano.
With the later releases the backup bands became larger and the arrangements more complex, sometimes to the point of being cumbersome. Lacking tremendous vocal range and articulation Ms. Krall is often nearly lost in the mix. That resulted in the use of overly close miking and studio enhancements to mask the deficiencies which, in turn, sucks the life out of the music. The music is still there, it's not exactly bad, but it seems a bit strained and contrived.
The end result is the later releases were not, IMO, as entertaining as the first two or three. Ms. Krall would do well to drop the marketing generated glamour queen facade and go back to her roots. Maybe not all the way back, but at least a few steps.
Fact is, I was coming close to writing her off as another rising talent lost to the recording industry "star making" machine which uses artists up, tosses them aside and moves on to the next phenom. But, if the "Live in Paris" release is anything like the PBS episode of her in concert it could prove to be a fun listen. Will's comment that it is "entertaining" is encouragment enough and I will invariably buy it.
On a side note, Ms. Krall is, probably more than anything else, an entertainer. In this respect she outshines singers like Tierney Sutton. Ms. Sutton's work graces my collection, too, and she is most certainly a much more talented singer. Especially in range, tone and articulation. Unfortunately, and again this is MO, she is far too technical and too little entertaining for my taste. She leaves me with the impression of someone focused on perfection and coming very close, but in doing so forgetting that it's OK to relax a little and have a little fun.
That's why I listen: For fun. Curses to any performer who gets in the way of that!
Fpeel: I know what you mean about Tierney Sutton perhaps being too technical. I don't really get that from her, but the fact that she is a member of some university's music faculty could lead to that result. Nonetheless, I enjoy her considerably more than Diana Krall, but not to the exclusion of her.
Matt - I believe that most would agree that the opposite is true. Her voice is very nice - albeit with limited range and not a lot of soul.
But her playing??? I can't even listen to some of her tunes because I'm embarassed for her. I believe it's on "All For You" that she plays a couple of solos where you can just see the grimace on her face while she fights to make her fingers keep the pace with the rest of the combo. But forget about pure "chops"...most of all her playing lacks any groove or style - IMHO. It's white bread (sans the crust) all the way.
Last night, I listened to some DK and to Christine Tobin. I recommended Tobin in an earlier post and must confirm that she is head and shoulders above DK.
Not only is her singing more authentic (I mean, she sounds like she's "lived the life"), but her interpretation and songwriting skills are incredible. She mixes in Mingus, Leonard Cohen (rearranged), Brazilian, some standards, and her own stuff.
My comparison: DK = merlot; vodka martini Tobin = whiskey
I recall a similar debate here on Audiogon a couple of years ago. The issue then, and seemingly now, is that your opinion of DK tends to reflect your frame of reference. If your thing is female singers of popular music - then DK is pretty good. But if you have the somewhat more 'acquired' taste for a female jazz vocalist - then DK is bland, ordinary, and a dumbed-down version of much greater talents.
I don't mean this as a put down for those that like DK. Because I like both female pop singers and female jazz vocalists. But being into jazz, and when DK presents herself in a jazz setting, singing jazz standards, I cannot help but hear her in comparison to what much greater talents have achieved - in that jazz context.
But if your frame of reference is, for example Jewel, as was mentioned in an earlier post (and I listen to Jewel too), then it must be hard to understand why the jazz-oriented guys see DK as ordinary. In a 'popular' setting she is a class act.
Admit it, guys. Diana Krall is an audiophile favorite because her first few albums were well recorded. Her music is characterless and uninteresting, to my ears. And there is no swing to anything I've heard by her. I bought the first two albums back when I was driving around town "auditioning" equipment 2-3 times a month and used a couple of tracks as "testers". Since the heavy reissuing of superb jazz recordings from the last 50 years about 5 years ago (and ProAc 2.5s and Air Tight 300B) I'm too busy enjoying Ellington, Rollins, Davis, Horne, etc. No time for corporate created "hoochies" like Diana. But, again, this is just my taste. However, I also consider milk chocolate and Miller beer to be fakes. Anybody outside of Michigan able to get Bell's microbrews?
I stumbled upon Live in Paris at a local bookstore and bought it, never having owned a female jazz vocal CD before, but wanting to jump into the genre. I Love it. Any suggestions for better recordings/artists of this genre would be appreciated.
I rest my case. Tomryan, knowing his jazz, sees DK fumbling about in a jazz genre full of greater talents. Carlabarla is turned onto jazz for the first time by the accessibility of what DK has to offer, and will (hopefully) lead Carlabarla into the much greater joys that grooving to DK will open the mind to, such as Shirley Horne. We should all go through Jazz 101 at some stage in this hobby, and if DK pulls 'em in then she is doing a great service.
Redkiwi- Is right, all of us discover music via a different doorway.
For me, the thrill of discovery, is what great music and audio systems are all about.
The best thing you can do for a friend, is turn them on to some great music.
Please add these to this growing ladies list: Dee Dee Bridgwater, Ernestine Anderson,Randy Crawford, Maxine Sullivan, the blues divas: Etta James and Koko Taylor, and the group Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Surprised no one has yet mentioned Billie Holiday. Too obvious, I guess. I've (for more than 30 yrs now) thought originals are usually the best. Jazz singers and players who created or got in on the first floor of any "scene" have always touched and held me more than anyone doing it today. In this same vein, check out "Charlie Christian - The Original Guitar Hero" on Columbia-Legacy. $8.00 and eight songs when he was in the Benny Goodman band. This is what it's all about. And please don't bitch about the sonics. If that's a problem, get some good SETs and appropriate speakers next time.