Since the mid-1990s, this Canadian singer and piano player has enjoyed a remarkable rise to critical and popular success thanks to her smooth, velvety vocals and nimble playing technique. She offers up a tasteful blend of modern jazz and contemporary adult pop that appeals to a broad range of audiences. Krall is a seasoned performer with a keen penchant for jazz standards, and fits right in alongside such musical greats as Nat King Cole, Julie London and Carmen McRae.
Diana Krall was born into a musical family in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Her love for the piano began early on; she started tinkling the ivories at the tender age of four and she joined a small jazz ensemble in high school. In the early 1980s, a grant helped her make it all the way to Boston to study at the esteemed Berklee College of Music, a breeding ground for emerging jazz artists.
She continued her studies in Los Angeles, where she honed her skills with bassist Ray Brown and pianist Jimmy Rowles, who encouraged her to pick up the microphone and start singing.
Her first album, Stepping Out, came out in 1993 on the Montreal-based label, Justin Time. Two years later, she ended up on GRP Records, launching Only Trust Your Heart. Her first appearance at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 1995 was a live tribute to Nat King Cole, where she shared the stage with another up and coming pianist Benny Green.
The following year, the singer-piano player came back to charm Montreal jazz lovers, offering a reminder of the previous year's show. She incorporated songs from the album All For You, her recently released tribute album to Nat King Cole. Much to the delight of jazz fans, Krall returned to the Belle Ville in 1997 and 1998, accompanied by renowned guitarist Russell Malone.
With her fifth consecutive appearance at the Festival in 1999, Krall had become a mainstay in Montreal. For the musician who had experienced such a meteoric rise, it was finally the year everything came together, crowning her achievements. With her faithful accompanist Malone at her side, along with a 30-piece orchestra, Krall unveiled the world premiere of material from her latest release, When I Look in Your Eyes.
The Major Leagues
Her first work released on the Verve label earned her a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance of the Year. Not only that, she also managed to garner a nomination for Best Album of the Year, the first time in 25 years that a jazz recording was even mentioned in that category.
From that moment on, Diana Krall focused on consolidating the foundations of her already well-established career. In 2000, she toured with the unstoppable Tony Bennett and in the following year, recorded The Look of Love, under the skilful leadership of celebrated arranger Claus Ogerman, known for his work with Bill Evans and Antonio Carlos Jobim, to mention only a few.
The world tour that followed that year brought her back to the Festival. A subsequent stopover in the City of Lights resulted in the live recording at the Olympia, Diana Krall - Live in Paris, which included her own renditions of Billy Joel's Just the Way You Are and Joni Mitchell's ode to Canada, A Case of You.
In 2004, the singer-pianist passed through Montreal once more, this time sharing the Festival stage with a slew of prestigious special guests, including her husband, Elvis Costello, with whom she co-wrote several of the new songs on album, The Girl in the Other Room.
Diana Krall released her twelfth studio effort, Quiet Nights, in 2009. It has a distinct Brazilian flavour, recorded under the watchful eye and experienced hands of artistic director, Claus Ogerman. Two years later, the songstress played three solo piano concerts at the Festival. Produced by T Bone Burnett (Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss...), Glad Rag Doll came out in October 2012. For the final performance of her Glad Rag Doll tour, the singer offered in 2014 her very first ever major free outdoor show on the stage of the Place des Festivals. A memorable Festival moment which drew a massive crowd of over 100,000.