Album of the Week
Wallflower, wallflower, won’t you dance with me? I’m fallin’ in love with you.
- Bob Dylan, “Wallflower”
Musically speaking, Diana Krall is no wallflower.
By any standard this five-time Grammy-winning jazz pianist and vocalist is one of the most accomplished and distinctive musicians today.
Respected far and wide, the wildly successful recording and performing artist remains a true musical force. At any given moment she could be producing Barbra Streisand’s new album or serving as musical director and arranger for Paul McCartney. She also just happens to be married to Elvis Costello – a power couple if there ever was one.
Along the way Krall has sold more albums than any other female jazz artist of the last 30 years, establishing herself as one of the best-selling and most beloved performers of her generation.
On Wallflower, Krall’s stunning and surprising new album, this world-class player consciously chose to hand over the reigns to 16-time Grammy-winning producer David Foster.
The record is a collection of songs, from the ’60s to present day, showcasing Krall’s considerable gifts as a vocalist in a bold and beautiful way. Her set includes popular classics like The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreaming” and Linda Ronstadt’s version of the Eagles’ “Desperado,” as well as personal favorites from Krall’s musical heroes, like Bob Dylan and Elton John.
The album also features more recent gems like Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and a newer composition from Paul McCartney (“If I Take You Home Tonight”).
Recorded in Los Angeles and New York, Wallflower is a refreshing collaborative effort that reflects Krall in a new light.
“I have to give a lot of the credit for this album to David,” Krall says. “He’s always said, `Let’s work together’ and finally the timing was right. I was ready to work with David and let him do what he does best.”
“Working with Diana was fantastic,” says Foster. “I always wondered what it would be like working together. I never thought this would happen because I live in this `pop’ world and Diana lives in this `jazz’ world— or at least that’s how it’s perceived. But one of the many great things about Diana, after knowing her for 25 years, is that she’s truly an outstanding pop singer.”
In making Wallflower, Krall says, “it was a genuine pleasure to focus on my time in the vocal booth and let David really produce me.”
Both hailing from the same part of Canada, Krall and Foster’s similar childhood helped inspire much of the album’s song selection.
“A lot of the songs on Wallflower are ones I grew up loving on the radio and on vinyl, songs I heard at home. These are songs I’ve been singing to myself for years. I got the 45 for “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc. I listened to Bryan Adams all the time. My parents and I both loved Linda Ronstadt, who was my inspiration to sing “Desperado.” I even had a Peter Frampton poster on the wall.”
When Krall hears “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word,” she can still remember the musical Christmas gift that keeps on giving, a prized copy of her hero and mentor Elton John’s album Blue Moves. “My biggest influence beside Oscar Peterson is Elton John,” Krall says.
Krall first heard Paul McCartney’s beautiful “If I Take You Home Tonight”, a previously unrecorded composition, when she was working closely with him on his 2012 Kisses on the Bottom album. “That experience will stay in my life and my music forever,” says Krall.
“Wallflower” is a standout track featuring one of Krall’s most affecting vocals ever and some outstanding guitar work from acclaimed guitarist Blake Mills. “This is a song that I feel very connected to,” Krall explains. “I’m a bit of a method actor and ‘Wallflower’ is a part I really wanted to play.”
Says David Foster admiringly, “Diana can be a wallflower but she can be fierce too. She is a genuinely great and introspective artist in the studio and then a day later you see her onstage cutting loose, being hysterical, the life of the party. Diana is someone who can go to all extremes beautifully and she’s proves that over and over again. ”
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