Diana Krall at Tanglewood
Saturday night we went out to Tanglewood to hear Diana Krall in the Shed. We’d been looking forward to this for a long time. We got the tickets back in March, and the seats in the shed were already getting close to being sold out. Certainly it was difficult to find five seats together, the number we wanted. But, since it was a nice evening there were still people buying tickets for the lawn.
Denzal Sinclaire was the opening act. He had a great voice and amazing breath control. He was also funny, and didn’t go too long – which is pretty much everything you want in an opening act. He even told jokes, Do you know the one about the turtles and the snail – no, well, never mind, you had to be there.
Diana opened with her quartet which includes Anthony Wilson on guitar, Robert Hurst on bass, and Karriem Riggins on drums. They are one of the tightest jazz groups that we’ve ever heard and their sense of rhythm is impeccable. For example, on So Nice the four of them playing just a few notes each are just as convincing as a large bossa nova group. You can get a sense of it on this video (terrible recording sorry) of the quartet.
We were also impressed by the range of music she pulls together. She talked a bit about how her father has a garage full of old recordings, and you can hear it in the music. Her solos are full of fleeting references to songs which seem unrelated, but have some interesting connection to the piece she’s playing. You can also hear her wide range in music in a set list which ranges from Don’t Fence Me In (by Cole Porter) to Simple Twist of Fate (by Bob Dylan), along with songs by Tom Waits, Fats Waller and several of the wonderful ones she wrote with Elvis Costello (e.g. Narrow Daylight, Departure Bay).
Midway through the concert, the rest of the band left and she went into a solo set. Once they focused all the spotlights on her and the grand piano, all the June bugs homed in on the keyboard. She stopped at one point to exclaim, I think I just swallowed a bug! One of the dangers of an outdoor concert. She also became a bit more chatty with the audience and we got to hear about her 5-year old twin boys who she was going to meet in New York that night, along with Dad. Apparently they like a wide variety of music, including songs by Paul McCartney, Daddy’s music, and they’re “just beginning to like Mommy’s music.” She has thought about doing a children’s album, including such highlights as a “sultry, scotch-infused Wheels on the Bus“.
After that the rest of the band came back doing an extended piece that segued from Cheek to Cheek to Come Together. Somehow they made it sound completely natural. Our seats were on the left, so we didn’t get to see much of her face, but we had a great view of her hands as she played. As a bonus, our seats happened to line up perfectly with a backstage window that reflected her feet. We noticed during Cheek-to-Cheek that one foot was tapping out 16th notes as she played. They followed this with some great encores including I was Doing Alright (this video includes the live jams that you don’t get on the CDs).
Question of the day: You may notice that we don’t have any photos of the actual concert. Why is it that the people who ignore no photography rules at concerts are also the people who can’t figure out how to turn off their camera’s flash? The Tanglewood security folks were very busy telling people not to take photos.