Sunday, December 25, 2016

Diana Krall • Christmas Songs


   Diana Krall is recognized as one of best jazz singers in last decade of 20th century and first decades of 21st century. Born and raised in Canada, married to English singer and songwriter Elvis Costello, since the beginning of her career she is one of stars of international fame. After studies in Berklee College, Krall debuted in 1993 with album Stepping Out recorded in trio with acoustic bass player John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Her acoustic style and contemporary interpretations of standards from American songbook were in straight connection with tradition tracing popular music history through artistry of post-war popular songs to its sources in 1920’s. Her sparing piano style was also the element perfectly in style audience was demanded. Repertoire and interpretations made she was considered as continuing Nat King Cole tradition. And she was casted in this role from the beginning of her career.
   When she published her first album, she became immediately famous as a revelation of vocal jazz and traditional pop music. Big audience at the end of 20th century was surfeited with digital culture covering human presence with any kind of sound glut. She was well prepared but still emotional, competent but natural and her singing was as much jazz as popular, charm and melodious as for popular music but conscious of consequences of every move and firmly bounded with harmonic changes as in jazz world – she was just the one many were waiting for. Her nicely deep contralto and simple piano style occurred to be perfectly adequate to smooth jazz, bossa nova and traditional popular music.

Diana Krall • Christmas Songs (2016 release)

   Big success of Canadian pianist and singer was connected with wide social process of changing the attitude towards jazz and traditional popular song. Five Grammy Awards and eight further Grammy nominations gave her position of international celebrity, so common for popular music stars and so much unusual in jazz world. From 2002 Diana Krall is published by Verve Records. In 2005 this label released Krall’s first and so far only album for Christmas. This was also her first studio album with big band. And it’s not an accident that the band was Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra – the band of two musicians she was recording starting her career. With 23 musicians of the Orchestra singer and pianist sounded still perfectly in her style.
   The repertoire of this record is convincing set of most popular Christmas songs. From Jingle Bells and Let It Snow, through Christmas Time is Here and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, to White Christmas and Sleigh Ride – all 12 songs are creating nice collection of season blockbusters. Smoothly jazzy interpretations are showing her deep and warm voice in these holiday songs. In series of perfectly produced orchestrations these songs sound surprisingly fresh. Arrangements are based on modern big-band style and studio features. Although deep rooted in traditional style, Krall is singing with strong interpretative impact, giving listeners one more opportunity to listen these old hits in contemporary outfit. 

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