Diana Krall opens summer outdoor concert series with jazz
June 16, 2011
The honeyed heat of Diana Krall’s voice adds to the intimacy of romance, fuses generations of jazz lovers and Saturday, June 18, will melt the lingering snowpack.
Ushering the warm weather season into the region Krall and her band, with special guest Mose Allison, opens the 2011 Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series at Harveys in Stateline.
Excited is how the multiple-award winning musician describes her return to the area and the chance to reconnect with her band members.
The last time they gathered was during this past spring when they accompanied Sir Paul McCartney as he laid down tracks for his upcoming standards album.
Even for the top selling contralto, honored with multiple Grammys, Junos and recipient of the Orders of Canada and British Columbia by her native country, the chance to record with the former Beatle was “pretty thrilling.”
Krall played at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys in 2007, co-headlining with trumpet player Chris Botti.
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For this musical storyteller her three decade career is frequently embroidered by colorful strands of others’ talents – both in and out of the recording booth. She has sung with Tony Bennett and Ray Charles, produced Barbra Streisand’s last album and counts legendary producer Tommy LiPuma as part of the team that creates the magic behind the music and words.
Growing up in a family enraptured by various musical genres provided the 46-year-old Krall an early start to her career. A collision of styles occurred during the late 1960s and early ’70s as ballad singers struggled against the rise of heavy metal and soulful lyrics were lost to acid rock’s often improvised instrumentals.
Through the turmoil of stylings Krall first began playing piano in her home province of British Columbia. The desire to perform carried her from performing at local gigs to receiving a scholarship at Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music. Already enamored with jazz her training coincided with the desire to learn from those whose fame was already established.
“I was listening to Ray Brown when it wasn’t cool,” she said, referring to the bassist who had played with Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and had been married to Ella Fitzgerald.
His mentorship increased when she arrived in Los Angeles to play the piano. In the city of angels her own band of them grew through people like bassist John Clayton and pianist Jimmy Rowles. Each offered valued guidance to further develop her gifts like Rowles encouraging her to overcome her doubts and add the sensuality of her deep voice to the act.
The advice was sterling and evident to everyone listening to Krall’s 1993 debut album, “Stepping Out”.
Eleven albums have followed. Each revealed more of Krall’s journey as a pianist and vocalist. 2004’s “Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival” demonstrated her gifts as a songwriter.
She finds inspiration in all things.
The 5-year-old twin sons she shares with husband and fellow musician, Elvis Costello, provide musical musings as does watching the parade of humanity pass a neighborhood restaurant near their home in New York City’s West Village.
“Life is marching by,” she said.
Additionally, she thrills to the burgeoning talents of young musicians such as pianist Gerald Clayton whose ability to capture the Motown sounds of Stevie Wonder and the swinging Caribbean style of Monty Alexander are “unbelievable.”
Karriem Riggins is her drummer on this tour. Riggins’ skills also include being a hip-hop producer and musician.
“I am sure there are people in the jazz world who have no idea how successful he is in hip-hop and the same applies to those hip-hop fans who do not know about his jazz connections,” Krall said.
When asked what fans can expect at Saturday night’s concert Krall did not offer a play list. She assured the love shared among her and the band would transcend beyond the stage.
“If we have a good time, everyone will have a good time,” she said.