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Diana Krall: A breath of fresh air (Subscriber Content)


They play as one. In a world filled with tension, strife, struggles and sorrow, sitting and listening to Diana Krall sing and play for 90 minutes is just what the doctor ordered.

Considered to be one of the finest jazz pianists and singers in the world, she carries the torch steadfastly. With a professional career that goes back 26 years she has mastered her craft, and has the awards and honors to prove it. She has a beautiful and smoky voice with just enough breath to give you goosebumps whenever she wants it to.

Her passion for playing is evident in her body language. From weaving to and fro, to scrunchy facial gestures during her solos, it was obvious to see that she loves what she does.

This show was at Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort. Her band consisted of guitarist Anthony Wilson who has played with her on every show I’ve seen over the past 10 years, John Lee Clayton Jr. on bass and Karriem Wiggins on drums, who have been there more often than not, and saxophonist Joe Lovano. All players had their share of outstanding solos. Missing was her long-time fiddle player, Stuart Duncan.

Even though her performance was flawless, her demeanor seemed a little bit like it was “business as usual” — just another night on the road.

Of course, this is her job, and you can’t be ‘up’ every night at work. She just didn’t have that spark going that I’ve seen before. Even with that being said, I found it amazing how smooth and beautiful everything was. Her touch on the keys was so gentle that it was almost inaudible at times. Her voice could be so sweet and gentle as if it were just a hush away from gone.

With my eyes closed, her melodic line would seamlessly drift off as the guitar run would take over. The euphony of the entire band together felt like one entity. These are skills that only come to be after playing together for a very long time. They truly play as one.

Writers note: This is the fifth time I’ve shot a Diana Krall show. My photography access has always been the first three songs, and originally I could shoot from anywhere in the theater. In 2017 it changed to shooting from the soundboard (halfway back).

This year it was shortened to two songs and I was limited to a spot about the size of a card table halfway back against the side wall, and I had to go put my camera equipment in my car after the two songs if I wanted to stay. If this is the new norm, this will probably be the last Diana Krall show I shoot. Next time I’ll just buy a ticket and enjoy the show.

Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.




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