Friday, June 19, 2009

Diana Krall: "Jazzwise" cover story

"It's All About Tempo," says Diana Krall in the cover story of the June issue (#131) of England's "Jazzwise" magazine. A very comprehensive list of DK articles -- interviews and reviews about "Quiet Nights" and "Live in Rio" -- can be found on the fabulous websites for Claus Ogerman and Antonio Carlos Jobim developed by the Pennsylvania-based discographer and researcher B.J. Major

Here's an extract from the "Jazzwise" article, with special thanks to Sergio Edgardo Benitez for his cooperation (and the graphic effects!):
Diana Krall - The Silence That Surrounds Us
From Barack to Bossa and Beyond

Singer Diana Krall may just have reached another peak in her career with the release of bossa-nova themed album Quiet Nights (editor's note: released in the UK on June 1st, 2009), arranged once again by Claus Ogerman. The very title conjures up a stylised image of Brazil, and at the same time draws on a world of lushness, sensuality and above all emotion. It also references the vast impact the title song has had on jazz under its English title or as it’s known in Portuguese, ‘Corcovado’. Krall talks to Peter Quinn about how the slow tempos of the album mattered to her above everything else in the recording of the album and, while it sees Krall return to working with a familiar team and the comfort of the zone she made her name in, it could regain the affection of those who took a dislike to her earlier album The Girl In The Other Room.

Critics then made their feelings clear despite the success of many of that album’s artistic ambitions and the undoubted quality of some of the songs Krall penned. However, the new album may, despite returning to familiar ground, lift the level of the jazz vocal style Krall presides over as one of its leading practitioners and relieve the sheer desperation many jazz fans feel about classic songbook and bossa repertoire. She’s the most famous living jazz singer, a Grammy award winner who has sold over 14 million records worldwide. But even Diana Krall still suffers the occasional bout of nerves. Then again, if you were performing at an intimate tribute to Stevie Wonder, and both he and President Barack Obama were sitting so close you could reach over and ask them for a light, chances are you’d feel a little nervous too.

Krall was one of a select group of guests asked to perform when Wonder was awarded the Second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Held on 25 February in the East Room of the White House in celebration of African American History Month, other artists on the bill (“The most accomplished Stevie Wonder cover band ever assembled,” Obama reportedly joked) included Tony Bennett, Paul Simon, jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, hip hop artist and producer, and country star (and fellow Canadian) Martina McBride.

“I sang ‘Blame It On The Sun’. I was a wreck, an absolute mess,” Krall tells me on the phone from New York. “I was in tears first of all because I walked on stage and there’s Barack and Michelle Obama looking the most gorgeous people, and we’re honouring Stevie Wonder in the White House. I was just so moved. I was invited to the White House during President Bush’s administration and did not go. It was such a cool thing to have the President of the United States say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Stevie Wonder’. I was just, like, ‘Aagh, this is the best’. Everybody felt it, everybody was emotional about it. And then when I finally met President Obama, he said to me: ‘You didn’t tell me your husband was Elvis Costello. That’s so cool’.”

To read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a free Warner Jazz CD.

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