Thursday, April 30, 2009

Diana Krall destined to make history @ the Massey Hall

Tonight, April 30, and tomorrow, May 1st, Diana Krall brings her "Quiet Nights Tour" to the legendary Massey Hall in Toronto, at 8PM. This highly successful tour happens after DK was nearly five years away from Canadian concert stages.

Massey Hall
178 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1T7
Tickets$77.00 - $127.00
Diana Krall Massey Hall Tickets

For those who are not familiar with the Massey Hall history:

In 1892, industrial baron Hart Massey (1823-96) bought land at Shuter and Victoria Streets and hired architect Sidney Badgley to design a memorial to his son Charles Albert Massey. Massey intended his "gift to aid in the development of the arts" to be "an auditorium -- spacious, substantial and comfortable, where public meetings, conventions, musical and other entertainments, etc., could be given."
Massey Hall soon became internationally famous as Canada's most important venue for concerts and lectures, attracting many of the world's leading celebrities; it also hosted weddings, movies, boxing matches, beauty contests, religious and political rallies, typing contests and chess tournaments.

And then... what remains known as the most important jazz concert ever took place on May 15, 1953. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus & Max Roach played together for the only time in their lives, yielding the historic "Jazz at the Massey Hall" album (for contractual reasons, Parker was credited as Charlie Chan in the original 10-inch LP cover.) Not coincidently, I have supervised its first digipack and fully restored CD reissue... (sorry, folks!)

Two decades earlier, on January 19, 1934, George Gershwin had appeared as soloist in his masterpieces "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Concerto in F." And, in May 1946, within weeks of each other, pianists Oscar Peterson and the 13-year-old Glenn Gould made their Massey Hall debuts. Declared a "heritage" building during the 1970s, Massey Hall remains a vital part of Toronto's cultural and entertainment scene.

The theatre seats up to 2,752 patrons, down from 3,500 after extensive renovations in the 1940s.

In 1994, to commemorate the Hall's 100th anniversary, the basement was completely refurbished to include Centuries, a fully-stocked bar. Prior to this addition, alcohol was not permitted in the hall. The decor of Centuries includes hundreds of photos of artists who have performed there over the years (largely collecting portraits of popular music stars since the Eighties) including many autographs. Centuries has a capacity of 220 people, and often hosts CD release parties and post-show parties for the visiting artists. Roughly five years after Centuries was created, an additional bar in the balcony lounge was added.

At some point in its renovation history, three of the windows at the front of the venue were converted into doors and they were painted red (from their earlier brown-gold colour), a large neon lit sign was hung about the main entrance, and notice boards listing upcoming acts were revamped on either side of those doors.

Now it's time for Diana Krall to make history at the Massey Hall!
The setlist for tonight:
I Love Being Here With You
Do it Again
Let's Fall in Love
Where or When
I've Grown Accustomed to His Face
'Deed I Do
Exactly Like You
A Case Of You
Devil May Care
Quiet Nights
Love Letters
Pick Yourself Up
Walk on By
I Don't Know Enough About You
The Look of Love
The Boy From Ipanema (or 'S Wonderful)

Here follows a review about DK's previous concert, on April 28, at the Hamilton Place Theatre:
Krall Enthralls in Quiet, Soft and Seductive Style
by Graham Rockingham
Hamilton (Ontario) Spectator, April 29, 2009

It's not easy having a "quiet night" when you're sitting on stage with 45 musicians backing you up.

But somehow Diana Krall managed to pull it off last night in front of a near-sellout crowd of 2,100 appreciative fans at Hamilton Place. And she did it with the help of 42 members of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, adding nuance, not power to her music.

Her new CD is called Quiet Nights and features another safe collection of '50s and '60s jazz and pop standards.

Quiet Nights is emblematic of the sound that has made the Nanaimo, B.C., native one of the top-selling jazz artists in the world.

Her detractors like to criticize her song selections as being "too safe," picking the best known hits from some of the best craftsmen of the 20th century. She leans heavily on the big names like Burt Bacharach, George Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Nat King Cole and Peggy Lee.

But really, what's not to like about that?

Krall does the standards so well and, besides, it's what her fans have come to expect. It's a style of music that harkens back to an era of cocktails and highballs, well before the vile invention of ready-mixed shooters.

Krall tried stepping out of the box five years ago with The Girl in the Other Room, writing her own songs with husband Elvis Costello and moving into more contemporary pop works by artists like Joni Mitchell. It didn't sell anywhere near as well as her smash hit The Look of Love.

So why not give the fans what they want? And that's what she did last night.

Almost as if to prove that she wasn't just another pretty voice, Krall started off the show, laying down the count with a snap of her fingers to I Love Being Here With You. It was a fast paced number aimed at showing off the talents of her exquisite trio of sidemen -- Jeff Hamilton on drums, Anthony Wilson on guitar and Robert Hurst on standup bass.

From there her voice turned soft and seductive as the strings of the orchestra introduced the naughty Gershwin nugget (Please) Do It Again.

It was a pattern that continued through the night, switching from soft to swing and back again, a strategy that serves her piano well.

Her piano playing is as good as it gets. She plays with power, authority, grace and emotion.

She can swing with aggression, and then, with a song change bring an audience close to tears with a few tinkles of the ivories.

And between songs, she entertained the audience with humorous stories about her twin two-year-olds, Dexter and Frank.

"Nat King Cole, I like him a lot," she said. "My children do, too. But they also like Wheels on the Bus."

She also told them about life with Elvis (Costello).

"I really miss my husband, because he's on tour, too," she said introducing I've Grown Accustomed to His Face. "This next song kind of reminds me of him. It's not (the Costello rocker) Pump It Up. So don't be disappointed."

Although the introduction drew plenty of laughs, her delivery of the Lerner and Loewe classic was breathtaking and one of the highlights of the night, as was her bittersweet rendition of Gershwin's love-gone-wrong song, But Not for Me.

And in the end it was those quiet, sentimental songs that ruled the night.


fabiopires said...

Nice blog of yours, mate. You could update it more often. Don't give it up!! All the best in 2010.

Fábio Pires on

Arnaldo DeSouteiro said...

I wish I could have time do it.
But it's a busy, very busy life.
Anyway, thx for your kindness.
Congrats for your blog.