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Diana Krall Biography

Last updated: 02/13/2013 10:57:49 AM

Once every generation an artist comes along that transcends a particular style of music and broadens its audience to the masses. For modern jazz music, that artist is undoubtedly Diana Krall. Talented both as a pianist and vocalist, Diana is rooted in paying respect to those who have inspired the art form so rich in tradition, "…I do that at all my concerts. It's important because it's not all about me. I learned it from Percy Mayfield and Jimmy Rowles and all these great artists out there who should be recognized as well."

For her latest release WHEN I LOOK IN YOUR EYES, Diana teamed with long time producer Tommy LiPuma and legendary composer Johnny Mandel to create the first jazz album to be nominated for the 'Best Album of the Year' Grammy in over 20 years. She walked away from the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards with wins for Best Jazz Vocal Performance and Best Engineered Album- Non Classical (won by Al Schmitt).

WHEN I LOOK IN YOUR EYES features lush orchestral string arrangements by Johnny Mandel on tracks such as Irving Berlin's 'Let's Face the Music and Dance' and the Cole Porter song immortalized by Sinatra 'I've Got You Under My Skin'. Those along with the other classically familiar tracks from the recording are delivered with a fresh new approach that is unmistakably Diana Krall, while maintaining the brilliance of their original versions.

Born in British Columbia, Diana was surrounded by music from a very early age. By the age four Diana had started classical piano studies, and in her teens she joined her high school jazz band. Diana draws from personal experiences as a youth remembering listening to music at home with family and singing playing piano along with her grandmother. She says, "To say I grew up in a musical home would be an understatement."

She landed her first paying gig at fifteen playing piano three nights a week at a hometown restaurant. Diana recalls auditioning for her first gig at a local restaurant called the NHL, "I think it is very fitting for a Canadian Jazz artist's first gig to be in a very nice hockey bar."

In 1981, Diana won a Vancouver Jazz Festival scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston and, after a year and a half of serious study, she returned to British Columbia. Renowned bassist Ray Brown heard her playing one night in Nanaimo and was so impressed by what he heard that he took her under his wing. Ray convinced Diana move to Los Angeles where she obtained a Canadian Arts Council grant to study with Jimmy Rowles. Jimmy encouraged Diana to explore her vocals to supplement her already blossoming piano skills.

On Diana's first recording, STEPPING OUT (Justin Time Records, 1993), she was joined by mentors Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton and John Clayton. After three years on the West Coast and a stint in Toronto, Diana moved to New York City in 1990. While in New York, she was able to focus on developing her singing and playing at a regular gig in Boston with her own trio. Shortly thereafter, she began her recording career and the rest, as they will most definitely say, is history.

In 1995, Diana released her first GRP album, ONLY TRUST YOUR HEART, featuring Ray Brown, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash and Stanley Turrentine. It was also her first collaboration with Tommy LiPuma and it introduced her talents to a much wider audience.

ALL FOR YOU, Diana's breakthrough 1996 recording on the Impulse! label, was a personal dedication to the music of the Nat King Cole Trio. Diana was joined by Russell Malone (guitar), Paul Keller (bass), Benny Green (piano), and Steve Kroon (percussion). This impressive Impulse! recording, also produced by Tommy LiPuma, was a spectacular career success and held steady in the top ten on Billboard's Traditional Jazz chart for nearly 70 weeks and earned a spot in The New York Times' Top Ten Adult Pop Albums for 1996. In January 1997, Diana earned a nomination for a Grammy in the Best Jazz Vocal Performance category.

LOVE SCENES, released in 1997 solidified Diana as one of the most commercially successful Jazz artists of all time. Selling more than 500,000 units LOVE SCENES was certified Gold by RIAA on August 12, 1999. Backed by Russell Malone (guitar) and Christian McBride (bass), Diana heightened her artistry in the jazz trio format. Her sultry rendition of 'Peel Me a Grape' has been remarked by many as "finally having found its true voice in Diana Krall". LOVE SCENES earned Diana another Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Performance in January 1998.

Since her latest release WHEN I LOOK IN YOUR EYES, Diana has been touring extensively through out North & South America, Asia, Europe and Australia. Her tour stops have included sold out performances at the Hollywood Bowl, Massey Hall, and several dates with jazz vocal icon Tony Bennett. "I just do it because I love it. Jazz is the music in my heart that allows me to express myself, and I'm very passionate about it. I didn't get into it for any fame or fortune. But I'm very happy, because music has given me many opportunities, and I've met some great mentors, like Ray Brown, Jimmy Rowles and Rosemary Clooney. I'm very curious and I like what I do, and I think that's the key."

"I never dreamed that I would have the opportunities that I've had. I just try to perform at the highest level I can and be passionate, honest, inspired and excited about playing music."