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One of the smoothest female singers around

On a Sunday afternoon, when recovering from a close friend’s birthday the previous evening – in the Dover Street wine bar – god help my liver and I – there is no better way to resume some semblance of humanity than to listen to this woman. I first chanced upon one of Diana Krall’s CDs about a decade ago and she has held a firm place in my music-playing selection ever since. Her version of “Face the Music and Dance” was my choice of first musical piece at my wedding last year, taken from this CD.

Norah Jones is great, Peggy Lee was wonderful and Ella Fitzgerald could charm the birds off the trees, but Krall is as good as any of them – not to mention rather easy on the eye – and hopefully will be around for a long time yet. No wonder Clint Eastwood went nuts when he saw her playing in a local Carmel bar before she became a megastar.

My hangover is fading already.


29 comments to One of the smoothest female singers around

  • lupin

    In that paragraph in the right hand column that starts “The Samizdata people are…” you should add the word “…cloth-eared”

  • She is amazing. Saw her live once with The Misses and it was outstanding. Nice to look at too 🙂

  • James

    She looks like Stifler’s Mom.

  • Who the hell is Stifler’s Mom?

    And if she looks like Diana Krall, where can I meet her?

  • guy herbert

    I feel even worse about being tune-deaf now.

  • ian

    Good looking yes, pleasant voice yes, but on a par with Peggy Lee and Ella – you must be joking. Of the female voices around, Katy Melua has the potential to be a great jazz voice, but both Corinne Bailey Rae and Madeline Peyroux already have it. Otherwise try Sam Brown (who sings with Jools Holland), Amy Winehouse, Stacy Kent…

    Also from a post of mine of about 2 years ago:

    I don’t pretend to be an expert on the current music scene, so it is possible the ‘new’ singers I’m talking about have been around for years. That is certainly the case for a couple of bands I have belatedly come across. Natalie Merchant, for example, the singer with a group called 10,000 Maniacs (now gone), and Samantha Sprackling (Saffron) singer with Republica both appear to have musical ability and a good voice.

    Other female singers I have noted include Sharlene Spiteri (Texas), Gwen Stefani (No Doubt), Cerys Mathews (Catatonia), the rather delectable Beyonce, Beverly Knight and Miss Dynamite. Also worth listening to if you come across her is Heather Small, formerly of M People. All these women have traditionally good voices, with distinctive timbre and seem to have the capacity to do more than simply carry a tune.

    I think (hope) this is more than an aging rocker’s fascination with attractive young women, although I have to admit that watching Beyonce on TV is an altogether more pleasant prospect than watching Mick Hucknall.

  • “stiflers mom”: allusion to character in the movie American Pie. A somewhat predatory high school mom.


  • Nick M

    Katy Melua,
    Dear God, has this thread sunk so low already.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    lupin, the cloth is in your ears, sunshine.

  • Julian Taylor

    Gratuitous pictures of scantily-clad gorgeous looking singers are always welcome in my humble submission.

  • jk

    She is a deity in our home, I have had the opportunity to see her live twice.

    The “Live in Paris” DVD is outstanding.

  • tranio

    Diana Krall is another great product from British Columbia.
    Try our wine if you can find any, if not come as a tourist to BC.

  • Prefer Nina Simone to Ella Fitzgerald, personally.

  • Dr. Syn

    de gustibus, I suppose.

    Peggy Lee is still tops for me. All that Minnesota ice in her cool delivery. Mrs. Elvis Costello, however, just leaves me cold, much as does Cleo Lane.

  • ian

    Mrs. Elvis Costello, however, just leaves me cold

    I think that is the problem. There is no sense of any emotional depth. Billie Holiday and Nina Simone of course had it by the bucketfull, even when their voices had theoretically gone. Going further back, no one could ever accuse Bessie Smith of having a voice but she was a great singer.

  • She happens to be married to Elvis Costello as well which is nice for him. Diana Krall is impressive but I do rather prefer to listen to the Nightwish singer Tarja (now ex-singer).

  • RAB

    Ms Krall is fine but I prefer her fellow Canadian
    Joni Mitchell, for sheer songwriting skill.
    And for vocal strength, well I am a lucky man,
    My old lady can blow her clean out of the water.

  • John J. Coupal

    Is she related to the soft jazz singer Roy Kraal ?

  • M. Hallex

    Katie Melua has a nice voice but doesnt rival Krall. I will heartily second the endorsement of Madeline Peyroux.

  • smallwit

    It is also possible to buy the album from


    Samples and reviews, too.

    This is not a genre of music I usually go in for, and my curiosity is whetted.


  • lupin

    Coming back to read the rest of this thread has chilled me to the bone. Saffron from Republica? Katie Melua? In the name of the three horned goddess I’ll be glad to be the one with the cloth in my ears if that’s the kind of soundtrack on offer.

  • jk

    I think we better get back to politics and religion before all out flamewar ensues.

    I’ll lob a grenade before I go. Diana Krall is a pianist who could work with zero vocal chops and no physical beauty. I think great instrumentalists, like her hero Nat King Cole, frequently bring an extra dimension to their singing. Watch some of her “Live In Paris” DVD (no, I don’t get a commission) to see just how special she is. She plays piano with the greats, sings, and charms the audience.

  • lucklucky

    Better for eyes than for ears. She’s too bland for my tastes.

  • bud

    Beauty is in the eye, etc, but I find DK to be a very expressive singer. If the lyrics have a storyline, she puts you right in it.

    She also happens to be an excellent pianist. I heard her the other day on NPR’s _Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland_, and she was very fluid. She didn’t do much singing, since, as she expressed it, at 7 and a half months pregnant her liver was just under her chin. I’m not sure when that show was recorded, but the picture is obviously out of date ;-).

  • bud

    I just googled it – she had twin boys last month.

  • Sean

    Having seen her once (unexpectedly) – my favorite contemporary femal vocalist has to be Eva Cassidy. She was too good to be true…

  • el viejo

    Ms Krall is certainly a bird in at least two senses of the word. A very enjoyable vocalist.

    If you like her, you might also like the cabaret singer Nancy LaMott.

    Ms LaMott has been gone these 12 years now but her albums are still worth a listen. (See nancylamott.com.)

    “Come Rain or Come Shine” – a Johnny Mercer songbook – is a favorite album of mine.

  • rich

    I was recently watching a morning show on TV and saw a young British girl singing. Her voice was just wonderful. I forgot her name and can’t find any info on her. She is 19 yrs old and sings 40’s type music. Anyone have any idea who I’m talking about?

  • Kat

    Rich, I think you are talking about either Adelle or A Girl Named Eddy.

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the breathtaking Shirley Horn. Frank Sinatra said he learned all he knew about phrasing from Miss Horn. Check out her collaboration with Johnny Mandel, Here’s To Life. Some of her earlier work was under the label’s guideline to not have her play piano (misguided!). Check out her trio work where she creates magic, and her later work.

    Her delivery, her intimacy, her expression — is peerless.

    I saw her in a rare performance in D.C. and amazingly the last set was, song after song just how I dreamed it would be. Brought tears to my eyes. I felt so fortunate to have seen her live before she passed.

    While I admire Diana, I have always felt her vocal essence was cold, single-leveled, and slightly antiseptic. Perhaps with her full, loving life her vocals will continue to grow.