Diana (Jean) Krall. Jazz singer, pianist, songwriter, b Nanaimo, BC, 16 Nov 1964. Originally a pianist who sang only occasionally, Diana Krall's sultry delivery of classic love songs from the American songbook helped revitalize the role of the female singer in jazz and spurred record companies to sign other singers who might be able to emulate Krall's worldwide popularity. A pianist since childhood, she took lessons in jazz from high-school teacher Brian Stovell and, in Victoria, from Louise Rose. After studies 1981-3 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, she took private lessons in Los Angeles from Alan Broadbent and Jimmy Rowles, and then in Toronto (1988-90) from Don Thompson.

A move to New York in 1990 exposed Diana Krall to a wider audience and coincided with her decision to rely equally on piano and vocals. Her rise to international stardom occurred rapidly in the mid-1990s, obscuring her years of preparatory work and exposing her to the kind of image-conscious reporting and celebrity worship usually reserved for film stars.

After a decade of near-constant touring and recording, Krall seemed to take a step away from her career trajectory in 2004 when she married British pop musician Elvis Costello and began recording and performing her own compositions.

Recordings

Diana Krall's debut recording, Stepping Out (1993), was released on the Montreal-based independent label Justin Time, but she signed with the international label GRP and began to work with famed producer Tommy LiPuma for her follow-up, Only Trust Your Heart (1994). GRP transferred her to its jazz imprint Impulse! for All for You (1995), an upbeat tribute to Nat King Cole. Love Scenes (1997) struck a sensual note with a set of romantic ballads, and When I Look in Your Eyes (1998) offered more of the same, but wrapped in rich string arrangements and a high-fashion cover. It became one of the best-selling jazz recordings to that time. The Look of Love (2001), on Verve, shifted Krall's image from glamorous girl-next-door to sexy blonde beauty, while her music took on a new, heavier texture with the orchestral arrangements of Claus Ogerman. A concert album, Live in Paris (2002), revealed more of Krall's piano playing and confident stage presence. The Girl in the Other Room (2004) marked a significant departure, introducing songs by Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell, and a number of others co-written by Krall and Costello, and striking a tone closer to singer-songwriter than swinging jazz crooner. Krall's 2009 release, Quiet Nights, featured Latin-infused jazz standards and popular songs arranged by Ogerman and accompanied by a 60-piece orchestra.

Performances

As a pianist, Diana Krall was active on the Toronto club scene 1988-90. After relocating to New York in 1990, she worked in lounges there and in Boston. Throughout the early 1990s she frequently performed at Canadian jazz festivals. A nightclub residency during the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1995, where she performed a tribute to Nat King Cole, and a 1996 stint at New York's Oak Room helped mark her transformation to international star. With the release of Love Scenes in 1997, she began to perform in larger venues around the world.

Awards

Diana Krall has won numerous Juno Awards, including three - for artist of the year, album of the year and vocal jazz album of the year - in 2002. She was nominated for album of the year, vocal jazz album of the year, and artist of the year at the 2010 Junos. Krall won US Grammy awards for best jazz vocal performance in 1999 and best jazz vocal album in 2002. She is an officer of the Order of Canada and of the Order of British Columbia.

Discography

Stepping Out. 1992. Justin Time 50

Only Trust Your Heart. 1994. GRP 9810

All for You. 1995. Impulse! 182

Love Scenes. 1997. Impulse! 233

When I Look in Your Eyes. 1998. GRP 90137

The Look of Love. 2001. Verve 549846

Live in Paris. 2002. Verve 440065

The Girl in the Other Room. 2004. Verve 000182612

From This Moment On. 2006. Verve VERW344940

Quiet Nights. 2009. Verve B001243302