Diana, Go live again and let me know where you're at next:0)
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I own about everything she has done plus a few in the SACD format. Really special.
I have seen her twice "Live" she is excellent and really has her way with the piano and a great sense of emotion and melody. Cute and playful as well. She surrounds herself with well accomplished musicians to boot. I look forward to hearing the new mix.
I really liked her stuff up until a few years ago where all of her muzak seems to have that same "Radio Friendly" blandness to it. The Quiet Nights album was horrible with overly close mic'd vocals and boring performances of overplayed light jazz war horses. Still have a lot of respect for her accomplishments, just wish she could get back on track with some real trio sessions that require more "stretch" from her talents and less recycled material we've all heard too many times before.
I am not very familiar with Diana Krall but other non-classical contralto female singers I like are Mama Cass, Amy Winehouse, Beth Gibbons, and Carly Simon.
CAn she do something along the line of THis? I would like to hear that!
The music business, and the entertainment business in general is more visual and beauty oriented than it was years ago. Her album art suggests that she trades on her looks. I am sure that is part of the reason for her success. She is not alone in this. Pop music is totally like this and it is even beginning to creep into classical music. Esp among female solo artists. A lot of mega talented stars from the past would not have a chance of breaking into the music today. Not trashing Miss Krall, she is just a product of the times. And I am sure she makes a good living, so all is well.
As an amateur jazz musician I think people should just give a more considered view on professional musicians. Everyone is entitled to their opinion as to what they like and do not like but to simply trash a professional musician with no basis and likely no background in music I find hard to let it go without saying something. I think Audiogon is a great site but there are over 80,000 posts on equipment and 5,000 posts on music and with respect I don't think many on this forum are qualified to be able to criticize a professional musician of the level of a Diana Krall. Krall has serious chops, has played since the age of four, studied at Berklee etc. I am not trying to compare her with anyone.
I respectfully disagree. To begin with, I don't care what her educational credentials are. We all know that there are talented musicians who create music that has no soul, while some of the greatest are self-taught.
I also do not believe that I need to be an amateur or professional musician to have the right to praise or criticize. Her education does not place her in a position where she earns protection from criticism. Just as creating music is an art, so is the appreciation of music.
People who love music spend their lives conciously and subconciously honing their ability to recognize great talent when they hear it, as well being able to appreciate modest talent well expressed.
I will certainly concede that tastes are subjective, but objectively speaking, I do not believe that Diana Krall is in the top echelon of technical ability in terms of her vocal instrument, or her piano playing.
Roxy54 - fair comment but let me ask you the following - assuming you do not play the piano, on what do you base your opinion as to her technical ability? To draw an analogy, isn't it the same as someone who has never owned hifi equipment going on to your system page and rubbishing it?
I have seen her play live - how many who have posted can say the same? And she gave a wonderful concert. Everyone was completely engaged from the moment she started playing the piano.
She is a class act. Her work seems to focus largely on 'standards' and she does these well. Check out the Live in Paris recording or DVD. I have seen her perform in a relatively small room (under 2000 people), and even with a hand injury, she can play. A number of her recordings were mixed by Al Schmitt, who is legendary.
First off, thanks all for your comments.
I saw my friend Mike (from Verve Records) yesterday and passed on the gist of the (useful) commentary, which seemed to be - "keep it simple, lose the strings". I didn't offer up the "She's a hack" side of the commentary, simply becaause - right or wrong - it's not really useful to him.
If anyone has further comments on the sexier look or retro musical feel of the new release, please post, I'm sure that he'd be all ears.
Again, thanks to all who have taken the time to post.
A lot opinions so far. I rather like her music partnership with Elvis Costello. I find the music interesting with a different flavor. In regards to the quality of the recordings, I'm sure a lot of folks would want to have Tommy LiPuma and Al Schmitt produce and record / mix their music with Doug Sax as the mastering engineer. I would expect nothing less than outstanding sonics from this trio.
I listened to this track - 1 minute out of 4:08. That's all I could stand of this song! :( It was quite horrible honestly.
And, I do like DK but I think that she's done for a long time now. IMO her best album was her debut album "Steppin' Out" & then I also like her "When I look in your Eyes". I have a few more albums of her incl. The Girl in the other ROom but those are quite average music-wise.
I think the music industry discovered that they could make her a "babe" & sell her looks & average music. It's working so far! But I think that she's capable of much more but it might not be fare that sells well hence the music industry will not 'allow' her to make/create that sort of music. Yeah, I have to agree that her later albums have no soul - she's a cold beauty, aloof.
Of course this is just my opinion. FWIW, YMMV.
Just listened, and my first impression is "whatever." I am sure it will sound pretty good as other posters above have addressed. One thing no one mentioned is that she is working with T Bone Burnett on this one (instead of Tommy LiPuma), as he is the "producer de jour." I'd expect it to sound a bit more plodding and atmospheric. I like some of what he does, but he tends to slow down the pace, and muddy the bass. Hey, that rhymes! See the Gregg Allman blues release recently to see what I mean.
From the Verve site:
Working for the first time with renowned producer T Bone Burnett and engineer Mike Piersante, Krall revels in a fresh sonic playground captured in the vivid grain and deep resonant focus of analog tape. Burnett has assembled a distinguished cast of remarkable men to complement Krall's piano contribution at an 1890s Steinway upright.
I like DK very much. I think she is talented and greatly appreciate artists such as she who produce superbly recorded material. I have heard most of her material and own three of her releases: "Live in Paris" and "All for You", which are my favorites and have been in regular rotation for a long time; and "Girl in the Other Room", which I enjoy on occassion. As much as I do enjoy her, I doubt I'll purchase any more from her. With those three I feel like I've covered her entire range. I would love to see her live though, especially with a large band such as on Paris.
Contraltos in general are a relatively hard sell for female vocals I think. Contralto is the lowest normal range for a female singer I believe, making it the least distinguished from male vocals. A contralto has to up the ante in other complimentary ways more so usually to score with the masses I think. I have seen Lady Gaga and Katy Perry categorized as contraltos, though contralto is a classical music voice designation technically. I think Diana Krall is no different. Sometimes she does and succeeds, sometimes she just relies on her vocal chops alone which is a tougher sell, at least for me.