Diana Krall will bring her sophisticated and elegant jazz performance style to Montreal with a full orchestra to perform her hot new recording “Quiet Nights”

It’s a very long way from Nanaimo, British Columbia to New York and the concert halls of Paris, London, Rome, Rio … and the world’s largest jazz festival in Montreal. To have made the transition is an amazing accomplishment that required tremendous strength of character, drive and above all – talent – lots of talent. Diana Krall has succeeded in a competitive industry, earning the respect of her fellow musicians and the confidence of those people who occupy the business side of the music industry. In early May she will be performing at Place des Arts with her quartet and a full orchestra.

André Ménard, co-founder of the Montreal International Jazz Festival has seen thousands of artists in his 30 years with the festival, and he has high praise for Diana Krall. “I remember going to see Lena Horne’s final performance in New York with Diana and her manager. There was an emotionally powerful moment in the show when Lena was standing alone in the spotlight, singing Yesterday When I Was Young, with just the piano for accompaniment.

I turned to look at Diana – she had tears streaming down her cheeks… I thought to myself – she has a big heart to feel this moment so deeply. I especially love the spirit of that moment. She has the heart of a true artist.”

Diana’s musical journey started within a musical household. Her mother sang in church and her father was an accomplished stride pianist. “I was immersed in music growing up” notes Diana. “My father has a vast collection; he collects 78 records, and that’s how I first heard Fats Waller, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. I connected with music on such an emotional level that it wasn’t ‘This is what I want to do’, it was ‘This is what I have to do’.

Piano lessons began at age 4, and Diana played in her high school jazz band. She was a regular performer in local restaurants and bars when she was only 15. The Vancouver International Jazz Festival awarded 17 year old Diana a scholarship to study at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. She was on her way…

In 1987 Diana moved to Los Angeles at the suggestion of the famous bassist Ray Brown, who along with Rosemary Clooney became a mentor for Diana. In LA Diana studied with legendary pianist Jimmy Knowles, who encouraged her to begin singing. After three years in Los Angeles, Diana moved to New York where she performed with her trio.

In 1993 Diana recorded her first album for the Montreal jazz label Justin Time Records, and followed with her first appearance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1994. André has brought Diana to the jazz festival on numerous occasions since her first appearance in 1994; but he believes that her appearance in 1995 was a seminal moment in her career. “We had booked Diana into the Just for Laughs Cabaret for an entire week, and I believe that engagement really helped her career take off; with over 400 jazz journalists from around the world taking in her performances.” Diana was performing a Tribute to Nat King Cole that week, and produced a live album titled; All for You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio, which was nominated for a Grammy Award and stayed on the Billboard Jazz Chart for an incredible 70 weeks!

Another successful recording called Love Scenes followed in 1997 and became a hit for Diana and her trio. In 1999 Diana recorded When I Look In Your Eyes, which featured lush orchestral arrangements. She received another Grammy nomination and was named Best Jazz Musician of the Year. The same group of musicians recorded The Look Of Love in 2001, and was an astounding success. It reached the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 listing and achieved platinum status in the US. In Canada the album went to number one on the charts and sold enough copies to achieve quadruple platinum recognition. The title track reached number 22 on the adult contemporary charts. These huge sales numbers were virtually unheard of for a jazz musician. Rather than achieving a crossover success, André Ménard believes something else happened; “In Diana’s case, the public came to her. It’s the public that made the crossover to her. It’s an incredible achievement to attract fans in those large numbers – and still remain true to her music.”

Diana married rock ‘n’ roll performer Elvis Costello in 2003; and Elvis encouraged and collaborated with Diana with her original compositions. In 2004 she released The Girl in the Other Room, with half the songs written by Diana and Elvis. Diana had been deeply affected by the death of her mother Adela, and the loss of her mentors Ray Brown and Rosemary Clooney. “After I lost my mother, I wasn’t able to return to a lot of the songs I really loved, because I just wasn’t feeling them – so I needed another way to express myself.”

In 2004, André Ménard and the Montreal Jazz Festival once again played an important role on Diana’s career. She recorded a concert DVD; Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival, enabling fans to see as well as listen to her performances. Later that same year Diana recorded a duet with Ray Charles, You Don’t Know Me for his bestselling Genius Loves Company recording. Tony Bennett had previously included Diana as part of a 20 city tour in 2000. This was a long way for a middle-class kid from Nanaimo to be accepted as a peer by jazz giants such as Tony Bennett and Ray Charles; plus a host of accomplished jazz musicians. Diana was doing all this as a singer and pianist.

In addition to being nominated for and winning both Grammy and Juno Awards, Diana was also receiving recognition from non-musical sources to recognize her achievements. In 2000 she was awarded the Order of British Columbia, inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2004, and in 2005 Diana was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Diana has kept her quartet together for many years with guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. The musical nucleus enables Diana to build her musical selections from the four musicians upward to eventually include full orchestra or big band arrangements, as was the case with her 2006 recording of From This Moment On. This collection of American Songbook songs was yet another hugely successful recording for Diana.

2006 was a busy year; with Diana also recording a duet with Tony Bennett, The Best Is Yet To Come. And indeed it was… Diana gave birth to twin sons shortly before Christmas of that same year.

Diana has just released a new recording, Quiet Nights; which has a definite bossa nova style to it. Diana is now in her mid-40s, happily married and a mother. Tommy LiPuma, her producer since 1994 comments; “She’s completely matured. She approaches her vocal phrasing much more like an instrumentalist than a straight singer…much more misty, like Peggy Lee in her mature period. Motherhood definitely agrees with her – and marriage. I think she’s really come into her own.”

Of this recording Diana notes; “I enjoyed making Quiet Nights more than any other record. I couldn’t wait to go to the studio and see what would happen.” Continuing; “It’s a sensual, downright erotic record and it’s intended to be that way…it’s a love letter to my husband.”

Diana Krall will be performing on May 6th and 7th at Place des Arts with her quartet and a full orchestra, as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s Jazz All Year ‘Round concerts. For tickets please visit: www.pda.qc.ca or call: 514-842-2112. Enjoy!

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