Masterful Composers: Happy Birthday, Diana Krall

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Guess who is the newest member of the five-Oh club?
Not only is she one of my all-time favorite artists in all of jazz, but her persona on the piano and that voice alone could make any guy using butter have it instantly melt without putting the oven on to start cooking it.

She has been that great, and I have followed her career since her first little known CD “Steppin’ Out” was released on the former Jazz Heritage Society label way back in 1994.

Ten albums later when Eagle Rock Rock Entertainment came out with this 2 disk set on Diana Krall’s concert in Rio in 2009, this definitely should be a fun set of songs to savor.

The enclosed booklet features many cool and stunning images of Brazil’s most populous city, plus lyrics to 17 of Diana’s classic tunes.  Included are her calling cards of  “Let’s Fall In Love”, “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”, the Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 classic, “Quiet Nights” (which incidentally is one of her album titles), and “The Boy From Ipanema.”

The second disk features Diana at three different worldwide venues:

  1. Eight songs at the Toronto, Ontario Becel Benefit Performance
  2. Three songs at a session in Madrid, Spain
  3. Two songs in a private session in Lisbon, Portugal includes the timeless standard, “Walk On By”
  4. But the really fun highlight is the last section:

Diana sings inside a partially sheltered beachfront house when she sings “The Boy From Ipanema”.  An older gentleman in appropriate evening beach wear teaches her some Portuguese as the subtle rhythms play from longtime guitarist Anthony Wilson.

The weather may be cloudy outside, but Diana really shined sitting on that couch wearing a classic black dress as the camera pans a bit back on “Too Marvelous for Words.”

Notice the sky getting darker by the second.  As longtime former WGN Radio and current WBBM Newsradio play-by-by voice of the Chicago Cubs baseball club Pat Hughes often says shortly after a 7:05 night game begins at Wrigley Field, “The lights have just taken full effect.”

What a sight, as Diana yells out “B Flat, B flat.” before settling on the jazz standard, “Cheek To Cheek.”

Yes, the crowd resembles that of Hugh Hefner’s first B&W version of Playboy After Dark, circa 1959.  Most of the crowd claps before a brief pause leads to “Quiet Nights” one more time.

And what a background, Rio at night!  Oh my (I wonder what NBC will do for an encore come August 2016).

The last hidden gem is the studio version of that same song as Diana is seen walking around a garden and a park as a triple-barrow waterfall sprays water in three different directions.

Of course, the news was not all so rosy in October when Diana herself mentioned that her newest album release was being delayed until a few days after the Super Bowl due to a “prolonged illness.”

I hope that you can join me in wishing Diana not only a speedy recovery, but plenty of rest and relaxation in the hopes that she will return stronger than ever.

And curious minds wish to know, how will she pull off doing a popular late 1980’s rock song by Crowded House in “Don’t Dream It’s Over” into a jazz tune?  Stick around and find out.

If you are interested in exploring more of Diana’s music on DVD, also check out her releases from Paris (my other personal favorite which features “The Look Of Love” music video), and from the Montreal Jazz Festival in her home country.

And also check out her selection of holiday carols from 2005:

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