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From This Moment On by Diana Krall

Once Diana Krall’s career started to climb, it never stopped gaining altitude. Even now, a leveling off from the strictly vertical climb does not seem to be imminent. Moving from British Columbia to study at the Berklee College of Music and then to Los Angeles to study with Jimmy Rowles, Krall has seen rapid change in the past 13 years since she released her first album, Steppin’ Out, on the Justin-Time label. When Krall joined Verve, her career’s angle of ascent rose even more sharply, particularly with the release of When I Look in Your Eyes, which won Krall a GRAMMY© award. Quite an accomplishment, especially for being nominated Album of the Year as well.

But now Krall is enjoying the success. Most people by now have read the gossip columns and know that Krall has gone from jazz singer to celebrity, not only by packing auditoriums with her quartet, but most recently by marrying Elvis Costello. And more recently than that, by expecting her first child. While such personal information normally is irrelevant to the quality of a singer’s performance, Krall makes a point of it, even to the extent of referring to her life stage in the title of her new CD, From This Moment On (which, by the way, has been nominated for a GRAMMY© award as well). With its lyric of "no more blue songs," Krall can’t help but have a positive attitude based upon everything going right in her life, and that good fortune finds expression in her music.

Diana Krall characteristically infuses her music with a sure sense of swing. Her influence by Nat Cole’s style always has been in evidence, especially through her combination of singing and spare self-accompaniment through the block chords. On From This Moment On, however, Krall’s influence by Shirley Horn is more evident as Krall minimizes her piano playing, allowing The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra to provide the back-up on seven out of eleven tracks.

But it’s not just Krall’s piano playing that becomes more succinct. So does her singing.

Krall admits that at this stage in her career, "I’ve let go of trying to prove something, and I wasn’t out to overplay solos." Indeed she doesn’t. As for her singing, Krall’s penchant for gliding into a note through half tones and quarter tones serves her well on From This Moment On. Krall veritably luxuriates in the ease allowed by familiar songs at medium tempos. Instead of filling in the rests with notes or vocal modulations, Krall instead, like Horn, lets the space build the suspense for the next note to come. Rather than improvising vocally on the tunes, Krall stresses the melodies through exacting articulation and emphasis upon the components of sound, like the sibilances of "don’t count SSssstarss or you might sstumble" or stressing the beat by stretching the vowels of "day-ay-ay-ay out, day-ay-ay-ay in."

All of this means that Krall has matured as a performer and now has reached a level of confidence and experience that builds upon everything she has learned from Horn and Cole and Rowles and Ray Brown.... and even from Jeff Hamilton and John Clayton, who appeared on Krall’s first album. In addition, Krall’s continuing work with producer Tommy LiPuma means once again that first-class resources have been assembled to make a memorable recording, as they were for Ella Fitzgerald’s Verve Song Book Series, for example, under the guidance of Norman Granz.

The arrangements for The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra concentrate on the totality of sound, backing Krall with muted trumpets or soft saxophone lines until the Orchestra comes in full blast, in contrast to its underplayed accompaniment, when Krall stops singing. Such use of dynamics, plus the irresistible sense of swing, recalls some of the Billy May or Nelson Riddle arrangements that were so effective behind the top singers of their generation. "It Could Happen to You" borrows some of those masters’ techniques by underplaying the first chorus, muted brass blending seamlessly into the saxophone lines, until, bam!, the mutes come out and the brass builds the next chorus into the strong swing that previously was under the surface. On the other hand, the introduction to "Willow Weep for Me" borrows from Porgy and Bess to set up the mood, with the Gil Evans-like broad harmonies, Jeff Hamilton and Terell Stafford contributing gorgeous solos completely in character with the feel of the piece.

Verve’s promotional plans for From This Moment On are substantial, with ads in major magazines and on morning news programs, interviews on major television shows, cover stories and air play.

Don’t let the promotional blitz sway your plans. Look for From This Moment On anyway.

It features Diana Krall at her best.

Which is to say, on each succssive album she has continued to improve while remaining true to her instincts. And throughout From This Moment On, Krall's intuitive sense of swing receives subtle and powerful reinforcement from her back-up trio and from the outstanding Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Diana Krall
  • CD Title: From This Moment On
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Verve
  • Tracks: It Could Happen to You, Isn’t This a Lovely Day, How Insensitive, Exactly Like You, From This Moment On, I Was Doing Alright, Little Girl Blue, Willow Weep for Me, Come Dance with Me, It Was a Beautiful Day in August / You Can Depend on Me
  • Musicians: Diana Krall (vocals, piano) Soloists: Jeff Clayton (alto saxophone); Ricky Woodard (tenor saxophone); Terell Stafford, Gil Castellanos (trumpet); Ira Nepus (trombone); Gerald Clayton, Tamir Hendelman (piano); Anthony Wilson (guitar); John Clayton (bass); Jeff Hamilton (drums) The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Jeff Clayton, Keith Fiddmont, Rickey Woodard, Charles Owens, Lee Callett (reeds); Bijon Watson, Sal Cracchiolo, Gil Castellanos, Clay Jenkins, Kye Palmer, Terell Stafford (trumpet, flugelhorn); George Bohannon, Ira Nepus, Ryan Porter, Maurice Spears (trombone); Tommy Johnson, George Thatcher (tuba); Rick Todd, David Duke, Marilyn Johnson, Paul Klintworth, Yvonne Moriarty, Stephanie O’Keefe, James Thatcher, Brad Warnaar (French horn); Anthony Wilson (guitar); Robert Hurst (bass); Jeff Hamilton (drums); Robert Zammitti (percussion)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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