CULTURE

A singular superstar of jazz

One of the best-loved vocalists of our times, Canadian singer and pianist Diana Krall, will play at the Herod Atticus Theater tonight. Jazz superstar Krall (a rare phenomenon) is highly popular in Greece. With her dreamy ballads and her soft, but also fast swing sound, Krall attracts a wide, international audience that is not restricted to jazz fans, although she remains the «golden girl» of the legendary Verve jazz record company. Born in Canada on November 16, 1964, to musician parents, Krall became involved with jazz during high school. At the age of 15, she was playing piano in various restaurants in her homeland, where she caught the attention of great bassist Ray Brown, who in turn convinced her to move to Los Angeles to study. That was her first break. In 1990, she moved to New York, the center of jazz. Three years later, she released her first album, «Stepping Out,» which instantly revealed the quality of her work but also established her style: Apart from her own compositions, Krall has interpreted classic standards like «Body and Soul» and the legendary Nat King Cole’s «Straighten up and Fly Right.» She was particularly influenced by Nat King Cole’s style and dedicated her third album to him («All for You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio»). Her second album, in 1995, «Only Trust Your Heart,» followed in the footsteps of the first. In 1997, she beautifully interpreted soft jazz ballads in the extremely successful «Love Scenes,» by selecting classic songs from the so-called «American Songbook.» Her 1999 release of «When I Look in Your Eyes» earned her more Grammy Award nominations and led to her winning the Best Jazz Vocal Record of the year. Her next album, «The Look of Love» (2001), went platinum and in September of the same year Diana Krall embarked on a world tour. Her concert at the Paris Olympia was recorded and became her first live album, earning many good reviews. In December 2003, Krall married musician Elvis Costello and the couple are currently expecting their first child (Krall is now in her fourth month of pregnancy). Together they released the highly successful «Girl in the Other Room» in 2004, which included lots of her own compositions, as well as renditions of songs by Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell and others. Her latest work, titled «From This Moment On,» is expected to be released on September 19. In view of the lack of great jazz personalities today, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney and others, Krall stands out as a unique personality in the jazz scene. What is important is that through her own style she connects the present with the glorious past of jazz music. It can only be wished that through her work, younger generations will seek the roots of jazz and become acquainted with the great musicians that shaped Krall’s extraordinary music style. The performance starts at 9 p.m. at the Herod Atticus Theater (Dionysiou Areopagitou, Acropolis metro station). For ticket information, contact the Hellenic Festival box office (39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.327.2000) or the theater box office.