Here is a discography for jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall, who is married to Elvis Costello. Their wedding, according to Wikipedia, took place at Elton John’s estate. AllMusic puts Krall and her music in context:
With her pre-bop piano style, cool but sensual singing, and fortuitously photogenic looks, Diana Krall took the jazz world by storm in the late ’90s. By the turn of the century she was firmly established as one of the biggest sellers in jazz. Her 1996 album All for You was a Nat King Cole tribute that showed the singer/pianist’s roots, and since then she has stayed fairly close to that tradition-minded mode, with wildly successful results.
Krall got her musical education when she was growing up in Nanaimo, British Columbia, from the classical piano lessons she began at age four and in her high-school jazz band, but mostly from her father, a stride piano player with an extensive record collection. “I think Dad has every recording Fats Waller ever made,” she said, “and I tried to learn them all.” (Continue Reading…)
The long and important life of Marian McPartland ended last week on Long Island, where the British native had lived for many years. McPartland was an important pianist and long-time host of a radio jazz show on National Public Radio.
The first paragraph of the obit at The Globe and Mail summed up McPartland’s amazing feat of rising to the top of the jazz world in which she was unique because of her nationality, sex and race:
Marian McPartland was a gifted musician but an unlikely candidate for jazz stardom. She recalled in a 1998 interview for National Public Radio that shortly after she arrived in the United States from England in 1946, the influential jazz critic Leonard Feather, who himself was born in England and who began his career as a pianist, said, “Oh, she’ll never make it: She’s English, white and a woman.” (Continue Reading…)
Here is an edition of her radio show — Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz — featuring Steely Dan, which is less of a surprise the more you think about it. The first tune, Duke Ellington’s Limbo Jazz, is fabulous. The show apparently is available as an album.
Above is a trailer for The First Lady of Jazz, which nicely summarizes her special status. Below is Bix Beiderbecke’s In a Mist. McPartland’s late husband, Jimmy, played with the legendary cornetist.
Oscar Peterson is among the greatest jazz pianists. Many consider Art Tatum — as the excerpt below suggests — to be the best, while Peterson, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and a few others are a small step away. I previously linked to this terrific interview that Dick Cavett did with Peterson.
This is from Wikipedia’s profile of Peterson:
Some of the artists who influenced Peterson’s music during the earlier type of years were Teddy Wilson, Nat “King” Cole, James P. Johnson and Art Tatum, to whom many have tried to compare Peterson in later years. One of his first exposures to Tatum’s musical talents came early in his teen years when his father played Art Tatum’s Tiger Rag for him, and Peterson was so intimidated by what he heard that he became disillusioned about his own playing, to the extent of refusing to play the piano at all for several weeks. In his own words, “Tatum scared me to death” and Peterson was “never cocky again” about his mastery at the piano. Tatum was a model for Peterson’s musicianship during the 1940s and 1950s. Tatum and Peterson eventually became good friends, although Peterson was always shy about being compared with Tatum and rarely played the piano in Tatum’s presence. (Continue Reading…)
The jazz pianist turns 74 today. Above is Monk’s Dream. Avery Sharpe is on bass and Aaron Scott is on drums.
The site will feature Oscar Peterson more fully in the near future. In the meantime, this clip is recommended to anyone who is at all interested in jazz piano.
In about seven minutes, Peterson demonstrates the styles of several other famous players. He has an engaging manner, and his genius immediately shines through. It’s great. Cavett was terrific at this type of thing.