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Singer-pianist Diana Krall's sexy image often eclipses her talent. Her immense popularity is undeniable; the cause of that popularity has often been the subject of much debate. On Saturday, March 9th, at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington, it was clearly Krall's talent that enticed the enthusiastic, sold out crowd. Accompanied by Jeff Hamilton on drums, Anthony Wilson on guitar, and Pierre Boussaguet on the bass, Krall was the last of her band to arrive on stage. Dressed in a revealing-at least by conservative jazz standards- black pants suit, she wasted no time in kicking things off. Just like the opening track on her GRP debut "Only Trust Your Heart," Krall and the band commenced the evening with a fast paced rendition of Peggy Lee's "I Love Being Here With You." After an extended version of "All or Nothing At All" and a mid-tempo "Let's Fall in Love," Krall finally tore herself away from the piano and welcomed the audience-as if her playing and singing weren't welcome enough. "How are you?" she asked, with a wide grin, knowing quite well that at least for the next hour and 40 minutes, we were all just fine. Krall is clearly a woman who's not only aware of her roots, but also reverent of them. Throughout the night, she cited different albums in which she discovered the proceeding songs. And although she joked about not being able to remember album titles, her love-and utmost respect-for the music was quite apparent. From Nat King Cole to Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall turns what could be enormous pressure from the past into a celebration. A celebration of life, love, and what many critics feel is missing from her latest album: jazz. After fantastic, break neck, solos from herself, Hamilton, Wilson, and Boussaguet on Bob Dorough's Devil May Care, Krall sighed and whispered into the microphone "wow." And, even if she's said it a million times, she clearly read this audience's mind.
As the crowd displayed their approval with 2 standing ovations, Krall ended the night with 2 encores. The first being "'Swonderful" written by the Gershwins, and then "Border Song," written by Elton John. Two beautiful pieces of music from two entirely different generations, yet she interprets them with such confidence and precision that they magnificently complement each other.
Whether it be caressing ballads or swinging standards, Krall puts her indelible stamp on every piece of music. Coupled with her wit and warm nature- an essential part of the night that critics say have been missing from her performances of the past-Diana Krall truly possesses the look, and feel, of love. One could conclude that without ever laying eyes on her.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.