Jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall has released a record number of pop standards from the ’60s and ’70s, is it any surprise? She said not really. By Kathleen Aubert.
Giving a (mysterious) Bob Dylan song name to an album that showcases pop standards from the ’60s and ’70s, you had to dare. Diana Krall did. with wall flowerThe Canadian singer and pianist seems to be putting her status as a jazz musician back on the line, as she has already done, to a lesser extent, with Glad Rag doll, a disc dedicated to covers from the 20’s and 30’s. Co-produced by fellow countryman David Foster, wall flower They will know a distinctly complex fate (or genesis). But he nonetheless exudes a stubborn charm that’s largely due to Krall’s vocal interpretation.
How did you choose the songs that make up this album?
I chose only well-known titles, such as “California Dreamin'” by Mamas & Papas, “I’m Not In Love” by 10 cc, or “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” by Elton John. Nicknames that I love and that simply speak to me. These are all songs that I listened to on the radio when I was young or a teenager. I could come up with a more complicated answer—often, that’s what we do when we answer journalists—but I don’t want to lie (laughs).
with Glad Rag dollYou’ve already proven that you’re not just a jazz. What will your critics think when they discover fresheners?
I love pissing them off. With Glad Rag Doll, I was applauded by all the music press who were suddenly not paying any attention to me. It was strange. They may not like this, but I don’t care. I don’t choose my projects based on what others will think of them, but to please myself.
Specifically, at the beginning of 2013, I did a series of concerts with Neil Young. Quite an amazing combination, isn’t it?
It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. In October 2013, she participated in the Bridge School Benefit Gala, the charity gala that Neil puts on every year. It was there that he asked if I’d be interested in going on a tour with him advocating for the rights of the Athabasca and Chippewa Indians in Canada (note: the “Honoring the Treaties” tour was organized to help the Indians fund their defense against the oil groups that engaged in large-scale exploitation in the west of the country). Of course I accepted. When he called me to confirm, I asked him who else would be invited and he replied “just you”. I was in my kitchen cooking for my kids, and I couldn’t believe it!
What memories do you keep from this adventure?
I am proud to be able to tell my kids that I went on tour with Neil to stand up for Indian rights. It was for good reason, just like the Bridge School Benefit party where I got a chance to rub shoulders with David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and my morning jacket. In a way, it changed my life: It made me realize that I didn’t have to stay in person as a jazz singer, and that I could do whatever I wanted as long as it was honest. No crystal ball can tell you what the audience will like or hate, so you can have fun too!
Is this why you’ve invited so many unexpected guests to the Wallflower?
yes. There are members of The Roots, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills put their votes on “Client (It Ain’t How I Feel)”. And Bryan Adams – another Canadian! – He sings on “Feels Like Home”…and also signed the cover art.
whether wall flower much different from Glad Rag dollBecause it was produced by David Foster. After T-Bone Burnett, there’s a huge hole from hell!
I’ve known David for twenty years, and we’re both from Vancouver Island. When I explained to him that I did not want to make a new jazz record, and that I wanted to stay true to the original melodies of the selected titles, he understood immediately. We did the opposite of simple recording, except for maybe a cover of “Wallflower,” which we stuck to a string quartet with guitars and vocal.
You already covered that Dylan headline on stage with your husband Elvis Costello…
No, my husband already took it with me! He was my guest, not the other way around! I’m obsessed with Bob Dylan. I started to fall in love with him when I was in my thirties. I adore him.
The album contains an unreleased song brought to you by Paul McCartney, “If I Take You Home Tonight”. beautiful gift …
She worked with Paul on the album Jazz Songs Kisses at the bottom. It was fun. Besides being an exceptional artist, Paul is one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. It’s so easy, it’s awesome. He wrote two songs for Kisses at the bottom : “If I Take You Home Tonight” and “Valentine’s Day”. “My Valentine” was chosen as the single, while the other song was not chosen for the album. And since I liked it so much, I very politely asked her for permission to use it on Wallflower. He simply replied, “Of course.” That’s it. It is one of my favorite songs.
After this pop arc, do you intend to return to jazz?
I do not know. I have a project I’d really like to do, but it’s not yet realized: The Band’s covers album with guitarist Marc Ribot, who I’ve already worked with Glad Rag doll. I’m a fan of Rick Danko’s voice…another Canadian!