Krall enthralls seasoned U.S. jazz audience

By Terry Connellan, August 15, 1998

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.
Diana Krall at Newport
Photo by Douglas Mason
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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