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Diana Krall with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra

Diana Krall is without a doubt a jazz music icon. Since the release of "When I Look In Your Eyes" her name has become a household word in many circles, in and out of the jazz world. Whether hearing her performances solo; on film or as duos with many great artists, one quality remains constant. Diana Krall's beautiful voice. Since she has performed her spirited, personable versions of standards, audiences are finding jazz music fun to listen to once again. Krall's music is steeped in the finest jazz traditions with a strong work ethic, however; she treads new ground with a very wide fan base. Older listeners are treated to fresh selections of the romantic music of their past, while a new younger audience is treated to just plain, great, timeless music selections. A scan of a "typical" audience would be a cross - reference of the general public. Old, young, singles and couples flock to her shows to enjoy the new soul of vocal jazz. While Diana is best known for her Grammy-winning, Best Jazz Vocal performance of 2000, her piano playing has fire and a whimsical virtuosity unparalleled in recent memory. Diana seems to be two artists in one. Deeply inspired by Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney and other great piano-vocalists, Diana offers great playing, good songs and a sense of humor. While in a live setting, Diana can seduce, charm and win an audience over with the skill of a very seasoned performer, which of course she is. Krall has definitely paid her dues. Since her first "gig" at a hockey rink at age 15 (not so uncommon for a Canadian), to her sold out venues around the world. Her understudy with Ray Brown and Jimmy Rowles definitely shines through all of her recordings she has produced so far. With her last effort, "When I Look in Your Eyes," Krall had augmented her sessions from a standard piano trio format to a quartet with orchestrations. The Johnny Mandel backgrounds proved a great catalyst for the stunning contra-alto vocals of Diana and even enhancing a brilliant rhythm section. As Krall mentioned in her program, "We worked really hard on making sure all the parts fit together correctly. Really it's a jazz group improvising as usual- the strings are just considered another instrument." The arrangements by Johnny Mandell and Claus Ogerman are quite exquisite to say the least and the strings offer a great palette from which the rhythm section seems to coast over and propel the tunes forward to the listener. When Diana began her summer tour stretch through the US, United Kingdom, and Canada she began premiering selections from her new recording and meeting a very satisfied, exuberated audience reception. Diana is keeping in step with her great success of "When I Look In Your Eyes" by her soon to be released follow up recording; "The Look Of Love" (September release on Verve). This CD will no doubt feature some of the great musicians that have graced her latest recordings and offer quit a few new arrangements by Claus Ogerman. Some of the new gems that were performed included; "Look Of Love," "Maybe You'll Be There," "Cry Me A River," "Love Letter" and "S'Wonderful" all performed with orchestra except the Gershwin tune, "S'Wonderful." Her stellar quartet consisted of seasoned veterans; Ben Wolfe on bass, Rodney Green on drums and the smooth touch of Dan Faehnle on guitar. The mixture of the song selection, masterful arrangements and hot quartet / orchestra interaction made a great evening of beautiful music. The performance was marvelous and loud applause accompanied every selection during and after every tune and the soloist received audience approval after every "ride".

The evening began with a sultry voiced Krall taking her quartet through "I Love Being Here" and receiving a rousing round of applause from the crowd as she worked stride piano along with swing like nobody's business. The orchestra joined for the second composition; "Do It Again" which featured heavy bass riffing and a great muted brass section in the arrangement. "Let's Fall In Love" featured unique tones from the xylophone, muted brass, piano & guitar unison and a hybrid guitar solo that received loud applause. While performing the tune, Krall's foot taps could be heard and added to the ambience of the piece (I was on the first row). Her musical quotes from "Mona Lisa" were a great tribute to her idol, Nat King Cole who she recorded a whole collection of songs in her Grammy nominated CD under the same title. Moving on, Diana Krall introduced her fourth selection "The Look Of Love" (is in your eyes) and mentioned the arrangement was from the great Claus Ogerman who was instrumental in the "Sinatra Sings Jobim" collection (Warner/ Reprise). This great 1967 release featured the composer, Jobim with his singer of choice, Frank Sinatra. The rich Bossa inspired piece was very lush and surprising to hear again. While keeping her ears open to new material from the past, Krall seems to re-ignite the energy of the original songs beyond the imagination of the composer and listener alike. This song will undoubtedly be the first "hit" from the new CD. Diana was premiering songs from her September 2001 Verve release under the same title. In her version of "Maybe You'll Be There", the sound was reminiscent of the great Sinatra recordings of the past with great orchestral textures and her great vocals, which seem so sincere and wanting. After four pieces with orchestra, Krall returned to her quartet setting and performed; "I Don't Know Enough About You" which offered Art Tatumesque piano performances with yet another top notch guitar solo from Dan Faehnle that earned rousing applause. A hard swinging version of "Devil May Care" showcased slamming bass ostinato riffing from Ben Wolfe in what seemed to be a tribute to the rampaging Mingus School of bass performance. Diana was featured on sassy, sultry voice and great piano performance as the quartet traded 8's and brought exuberant applause from the excited crowd. Returning to the orchestral textures Diana went into another new selection from her soon to be released CD "The Look Of Love". "Cry Me A River" featured Diana in a growling voice and line cliché from the orchestra. Again, The arrangement and performance was beautiful and well received. The ninth tune performed was "Pick Yourself Up". In her monologue, Diana addressed her respect and love for Sinatra, Nat King Cole and the arrangers who have made the music overflow with melodies. Tune number ten is another new tune; "Love Letter" also featuring the orchestra and great quartet sensitivity and of course, Krall's great vocal touch. Turning back to the quartet format, Diana counted off a beautiful version of the Gershwin composition, "S'Wonderful. Diana Krall can make a classic song sound more classic and her renditions are heartfelt performances, which reach the yearning, and joy we feel. Her emotions and feelings transcend mere words and affect an audience very effectively. Her band in turn offers a great suspension of melody, contrary motion and tension, always complementing Krall's artistry with finesse and power. The set closer was a tune entitled, "Frim Fram", which showed off the humoresque side of Diana's stage persona with a Vaudeville era up-tempo number. "Frim Fram" featured a romping bass from Wolfe and another of the superb guitar solos from Faehnle, who incidentally had to replicate the intense playing of Russell Malone from the recording sessions, not an enviable task to say the least. The quartet left the stage as they had finished their set however; the encore was inevitable as the audience rose to their feet in celebration of the great performance. Krall and band returned with a final number with the Nashville Symphony. Surprisingly, Diana didn't count of a fast piece to close her show; instead, she chose the bossa nova version of her soundtrack hit, "I've Got You Under My Skin". This hautingly beautiful vocal performance was a true highlight of the evening and contrasted beautifully with the percolating bossa guitar of Faehnle. It was very evident at this point that this slow- burning showstopper was the trump she was holding all along. Diana masterfully used all of her experience to seduce, coax and have fun with the audience in a very intimate, personable way. After leaving the stage with a wave and bow, Diana left a great impression on the Nashville audience who had to wait since a St. Valentines day concert cancellation to see their lady perform. Perhaps, we were beneficiaries of fate because five of the tunes were new material that would not have been performed earlier in the year. As I left with the entourage of fans, I noticed the audience left with smiles on their faces and the " look of love" in their eyes for the intimate experience they just had with of Diana Krall. My only wish after the show was a copy of this yet unavailable collection. After 38 weeks atop the jazz charts this follow - up may even surpass her previous efforts. Why not? Here are some passing reflections from Diana in regards to her latest project and focus on tour. "Thank you so much for being so supportive and so kind. I've been working on a new album that will be out in September called "The Look Of Love". Thanks so much for being so in to the music, we worked really hard on it and we're out here touring now. I look forward to seeing every body (on tour). It's great for me to see I have such a great fan base and that keeps me encouraged and supported, we're working hard touring out here. I love what I do. I love to play the piano and I love music and that's what the bottom line is. I make a lot of jokes about things and there is a lot of talking or interviews about other things in my life. My personal life, what I like, what my hobbies are? But right now I'm really, really focused on music." Bravo Ms. Krall! Encore! Thanks for the great music and we will see you on tour (again), soon Diana! FINE

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  • Artist / Group Name: Diana Krall with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra
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