Potent as both a pianist and a vocalist, Diana Krall possesses an extraordinary talent for creating music that speaks personally to every individual who hears her perform. But don't expect Diana to tell her listeners what to feel. "Tony Bennett taught me how important emotional directness is in music," she says. "It's all about how you communicate. You tell a story, but you leave it open to personal interpretation."
Diana's love affair with classic jazz ballads and with pop music of earlier decades started when she was a toddler growing up in Nanaimo, British Columbia. There was always music in Diana's life. Diana and her family would gather at her grandparents' home on Sundays to make music together. (Her mother and father both played piano and her grandmother was a singer.) Nat king Cole, Fats Waller, Bill Evans, Frank Sinatra, opera, and the music of old radio shows helped form her musical tastes; as she grew older, she was also influenced by Sting, R&B and piano great Ahmad Jamal.
By age four, Diana had started classical piano studies, and in her teens she joined her high school jazz band. She landed her first paying gig - at fifteen - playing piano three nights a week at a hometown restaurant. Diana's growing fascination with the singer/pianist role led her naturally to an appreciation of Dinah Washington, Roberta Flack, Carmen McRae, Nina Simone, and Shirley Horn, among others. "I've been singing Ghost Of A Chance and You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me since I was 15 years old," she admits.
Diana won a Vancouver Jazz Festival scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1981 and, after a year and a half of serious study, she returned to British Columbia. Master 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 and his mentoring relationship with her continues to this day. Ray suggested Diana move to Los Angeles where she obtained a Canadian Arts Council grant to study with Jimmy Rowles.
Ray Brown's interest in Diana's musical development is reflected in the liner notes for her first recording, Stepping Out, where she was joined by their mutual friends, 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. From this home base, 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. She embarked on tour outside the U.S. and Canada, playing at major European festivals and traveling to Japan to perform with McBride, Nash and Sadao Watanabe.
All For You, Diana's breakthrough 1996 recording on the reactivated Impulse! label, was a personal dedication to the music of the Nat King Cole Trio. In addition to Malone, Diana was joined by 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 was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Jazz Vocal Performance category.
Further evidence of Diana's promise as a brilliant new talent came in 1996 with invitations to perform in tributes to Ella Fitzgerald at Carnegie Hall and to Benny Carter at Lincoln Center, as well as performing with Ray Brown for his 70th Birthday Celebration at the Blue Note in New York. An engagement at NYC's famed Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel solidified her reputation as a crowd-pleasing performer. Her trio appeared before sold-out audiences for four weeks, garnering praise and accolades from the New York media. Diana made a believer out of them, and now stands poised to make a believer out of you!