diana krall

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Holly Cole: Holly Cole (Alert)

Holly Cole: Holly Cole (Alert)

Cole is the dark mistress of jazz-noir which probably sounds best in an ill-lit nightclub as you are waiting for Bogie and Bacall to drop in. That kind of smoke-filled and evocative music. Alley Cat Song is a typical Cole title. With a terrific band (which includes Gil Goldstein on piano, Marty Ehrlich and Lenny Pickett on saxes, and...

Cassandra Wilson: Loverly (Blue Note)

Cassandra Wilson: Loverly (Blue Note)

More so than her Blue Note labelmate Norah Jones, vocalist Wilson (along with violinist Regina Carter on Verve incidentally) has redefined the parameters of what we know as "jazz" in the 21st century.Jones may be a superb jazzy singer-songwriter with a country heart, but Wilson can turn her attention to material from all across the...

DIANA KRALL INTERVIEWED (2000): Blonde ambition

DIANA KRALL INTERVIEWED (2000): Blonde ambition

Grammy-gathering jazz pianist and chanteuse Diana Krall is shameless about her musical taste. She's about to go on stage in Philadelphia with Tony Bennett, but is confessing about the music she's listening to on the tour. Not unexpectedly, she rattles off a few by jazz artists such as John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Ella Fitzgerald,...

Diana Krall: Quiet Nights (Verve/Universal)

Diana Krall: Quiet Nights (Verve/Universal)

Popular though she might be, Canadian Krall (interview here) has been considered something of a lightweight jazz chanteuse and it has perhaps only been live when her piano playing comes into its own. But her 2004 album Girl in the Other Room (many of the lyrics co-written with her new husband Elvis Costello) was a great leap forward into more...

Diana Krall: The Girl in the Other Room (Universal)

Diana Krall: The Girl in the Other Room (Universal)

Krall has been among the more anodyne of "jazz" artists and while her lightweight stylishness has undoubted appeal for less demanding listeners there has often seemed an emotional vacuum at the centre of her breathy vocals and constrained piano playing. While she may be her own woman you can't help note that marriage to Elvis...

Boz Scaggs: Speak Low (Decca)

Boz Scaggs: Speak Low (Decca)

With his classic blue-eyed pop-soul albums of the mid and late 70s -- Silk Degrees and Down Two Then Left -- Scaggs brought a slippery rhythmic sensibility to his singing and, with famed jazz and studio musicians backing him, managed to cross effortlessly between the pop, r’n’b and soul charts. Over the decades he moved further...

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

This can be extremely brief given that Smith's story, travails and so on have been much canvassed. But what hasn't been said too often or too loudly is that while her previous album Long Player sold exceptionally well it came encumbered with two shortcomings which probably didn't go unnoticed by those at Manhattan/Blue Note with whom she parted...

Catherine Russell: Inside This Heart of Mine (World Village/Ode)

Catherine Russell: Inside This Heart of Mine (World Village/Ode)

With an excellent ensemble of understated but very classy players, jazz-cum-r'n'b singer Russell takes a sophisticated journey down the byways of ol' New Orleans, finger-snapping Swing Era sounds, cool blues and other related styles on a warmly produced album which includes materiaal by Fats Waller, Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, early r'n'b star...

Various Artists: . . . Featuring Norah Jones (Blue Note)

Various Artists: . . . Featuring Norah Jones (Blue Note)

Those who dismiss Norah Jones as some kind of aural wallpaper clearly aren't listening carefully enough. Her albums have been quietly progressive as they step deftly betwen lounge jazz and alt.country -- and the lady constantly defies expectation. Not the least by putting herself about a bit, in a professional way. This 18 track album...

THE VERVE LABEL: Fifty-plus years, and what's the forecast?

THE VERVE LABEL: Fifty-plus years, and what's the forecast?

Sometimes, if we are lucky we can be at historic events. But we might not realise it until later. If a historic event is the Foo Fighters first recording as a band -- and remember Dave Grohl did the band's debut album himself -- then I can immodestly claim to have been there. It was in a BBC studio in London, Pat Smear lit one after...

k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang: Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)

k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang: Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)

A common complaint amongst those who interpret the lyrics of others is that very few people write good words anymore. Incidentally Sinatra had the same gripe in the late Forties, although some might say he was just picking badly. Lang here with her new band (and they are superb, more in a minute) has no such problem with classy material, she...

FRANK: THE VOICE by JAMES KAPLAN

FRANK: THE VOICE by JAMES KAPLAN

When he died, Time ran an eight-page tribute and put him on the cover with a simple tag-line: “Francis Albert Sinatra 1915 – 1998”. They might have added “The Voice”, “Old Blue Eyes”, “He Did It His Way” or some other catch-phrase, but none could have encompassed the complexity of...

HOLLIE SMITH INTERVIEWED (2011): Are friends electronica?

HOLLIE SMITH INTERVIEWED (2011): Are friends electronica?

In Berlin it's 8.15am so a yawning Hollie Smith is forgivably vague about where her friends Electric Wire Hustle played last night. And she is also on holiday, despite having a new album Band of Brothers Vol 1 – with Mara TK of EWH – released back home. “I did talk last year of moving over here for a lot longer,”...

Hollie Smith and Mara TK: Band of Brothers Vol 1 (EMI)

Hollie Smith and Mara TK: Band of Brothers Vol 1 (EMI)

Although this collaboration with Mara TK of the electronica outfit Electric Wire Hustle will doubtless be read in some circles as a departure for Smith, most often known for her sky-scaling soul style -- as she notes in this interview with Elsewhere -- this is just growth. And because Smith's work and difficulties have been lived out in the...

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