DIANA KRALL: LIVE IN PARIS
Review by Mark Wiechman
KRALL: Vocals and Piano
John Clayton: Acoustic Bass
Jeff Hamilton: Drums
Paulinho DaCosta: Percussion
John Pisano: Acoustic Guitar
Anthony Wilson: Electric Guitar
Alan Broadbent: Music Director/Conductor
Orchestre Symphonique European &Paris Jazz Big Band
Claus Ogerman: Guest Conductor
Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1, DVD 9 Dual Layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Studio: Eagle Eye Media (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Features: See Review
Release Date: April 2, 2002
Jazz is the one artistic contribution to the world in which America has never been equaled, so it is ironic that the best Jazz DVD I have seen features a Canadian performing in Paris!
in general is much more enjoyable in live settings than studio recordings, and
this excellent Paris concert is no exception.
Diana Krall, a Canadian singer and pianist, is today the most popular
jazz artist in the world. Like
Harry Connick Jr., she sings and plays jazz piano in a modern style which is
viruostic without being pretentious. It
is just good music, which is easy to listen to but can also be considered
“real” jazz. She takes long
forgotten standards and brings them back to life.
This is her specialty, not composing as Mr. Connick thinks he can do.
Oh yeah, and she is incredibly beautiful, with angular features,
resembling that artsy chick we all knew in school who had no idea how pretty she
have to admit that at first I did not admire Ms. Krall much as a vocalist, since
she does not soar like Sarah Vaughn, and her voice is not overwhelming like
Diane Schurr. But then I went back
to those singers, and realized that I much preferred Krall to Schurr, and
frankly no one can do what Sarah could do.
Interestingly, Krall sounds as good as or better than her recordings.
Her pitch does not stray and she is relaxed and confident.
I guess she should be considering she has done this since she was a
normal sidemen for studio recordings include Russell Malone on guitar and
Christian McBride on bass, neither of whom are on this DVD but their substitutes
are up to the task. Her last two
studio recordings have been somewhat disappointing to me since they include
strings, which watered down her stereo recordings to the point where her
excellent rhythm section might as well have been programmed on a synthesizer.
But this concert has her in the small combo mode and with the orchestra
as well, and in this situation the strings are a nice supplement because you can
still hear the band clearly.
lighting, plenty of shots of all the different players, and some footage of
Paris while the music plays, which normally I would dismiss as amateurish, but
it works very well here because the music is so romantic.
The camera angles change frequently but not frenetically. If I were a
jazz instructor I would recommend this to show the various instruments playing
slow, fast, Latin, and tasteful “cocktail” jazz.
This is an excellent “date” DVD for music lovers, and you can even
turn off your TV and enjoy it all almost as much.
5.1 and DTS mixes are strong and clear, as I mentioned it is nice to be able to
hear all of the instruments clearly, which is just not possible in stereo.
Being a bassist for almost twenty years I always listen for the big
bottom and it is here. The acoustic bass comes through clearly with tonal
definition, the guitars are clear, the piano rings and the drummers’ brushes
can be heard clearly. One of
the highlights is a German-bowed solo by Clayton on East
of the Sun, a ballad I did not care for until I heard this version.
and listeners alike will learn to appreciate the gentle swinging of some tunes (Let’s
Fall in Love) and the hard swing of others (I
Love Being Here With You). Drummers
will learn a thing or two from Jeff Hamilton’s excellent technique. Since when do they bother to even show the rhythm section?
This one definitely deserves it, there are many good camera shots of
Diana’s hands when she solos, then switching back to her face when she sings,
which helps dispel the stupid myth which claims she is only popular because she
is attractive. Hey, that piano does
not play itself!!!
are two gorgeous videos, The Look of Love
and Let’s Face the Music and Dance.
The first shows Diana singing as a young man hangs a canvas on a
building, the second shows her meandering around a dinner party.
Neither is mind-blowing but very welcome to anyone who does not have a
video jazz channel (most of us). There
is also footage from a rehearsal which is interesting because it shows Ms. Krall
working out sections with the conductor.
These are good features, but some interviews or such would have been