Diana Krall has arrived, at least in the opinion of more than 10,000 attendees at this year's Newport, Rhode Island Jazz Festival, considered the premier event on the American Jazz calendar.
Sponsored by major audio and video manufacturer JVC, it's a well run operation No alcohol, glass containers, drugs or loose garbage tolerated. The events, on both days, begin at 11:30AM and end at 6:30PM. The mellow crowd sat, sprawled, walked, or just moved to the rhythm of a stellar lineup of the best performers in the genre. They covered the large point in front of historic Fort Adam State Park that forms an arm of Newport Harbor. In the harbor lay the Queen Elizabeth 2, and several thousand other boats of all sizes that filled the harbor, starboard to port. This is the fifth annual Newport Jazz tour out of New York for the QE 2. What started out as a two-day event is now a full-week tour that includes Halifax, and Bar Harbor, Maine. There is nothing pretentious about Jazz, it is the voice of the soul of the American people, their indigenous musical art form. For the most part the performers followed it religiously. The program began with stellar violinist Regina Carter. She included a tribute to, an obvious influence, Stephane Grapelli. She's an exciting performer. The Michael Brecker Quartette featured loud, driving on-the-edge jazz that may not have been to everyone's taste. Then it was Diana's turn. Opening with Is You Is, Or Is You Ain't My Baby, to strong applause, she followed with, I've Got You Under My Skin, showing beautiful phrasing, and well supported by trio members, bassist Ben Wolfe and guitarist Russell Malone, the crowd got on board. Harry Warren's, You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me, brought prolonged applause, and the number that followed brought shouts for the playing of Ben Wolfe and Russell Malone, and a smile from Krall. The crowd had fallen in love. She pitched Malone's new CD, and in a sweet and touching moment, she credited her 2-year-deceased piano teacher, Jimmy Rowles in the introduction to How Deep Is The Ocean, followed by their last number, that demonstrated her virtuosity on, I Can't Give You Anything But Love. This brought the days first standing ovation. The demanded encore was Peel Me A Grape, her wry teasing had the audience clapping the rhythm with cries of, "Go Girl," and "Oh Yeah." On the line "When I say, do it" she stopped, and her audience filled in with, "Jump to it." Chick Corea, was as always the master musician/showman. He and Origin sparkled in tight gripping arrangements. Aretha Franklin sang about what once was, and the crowd loved and reminisced along with her. They clapped with her, and sang along with her, but it was a once-upon-a-time that is past, and the songs more R&B than Jazz evoked happy memories rather than pyrotechnics. On the day, that was Diana Krall's department, and she sparkled.
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