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  Hot Vocalists  
  by Dustin Garlitz  
     
 

        December 2004:

      There are two vocalists who are revitalizing jazz today.  Norah Jones and Diana Krall are tops when it comes to popularity and record sales.  Jones is signed to once legendary Blue Note Records; Krall makes her home on the powerhouse Verve label.  Their social lives are well publicized: Norah is the daughter of Ravi Shankar and dates her bassist Lee Alexander; Diana is married to musician Elvis Costello.  Both of these vocalists tour the EU like crazy (Krall especially enjoys playing in Scandinavia) since their fan base is huge over there.  Krall is into more traditional jazz (with a sound reminiscent of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, or Ella Fitzgerald) while Jones is a little more pop, folk and country western.  The two employ a power elite of the modern jazz world’s top instrumentalist: Krall uses Russell Malone on guitar and Christian McBride on bass as sidemen while Norah has hired progressive guitarist Adam Levy (of New York City’s ‘Sex Mob’ fame).  Recently some of Norah’s dissatisfied fans have been caught calling her “Snorah”, yet for the most part they are both well liked among many different audiences.  

        In 2001, Krall made a very popular record with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  The next year, Jones introduced herself to the jazz world with Come Away With Me.  When a Blue Note executive first heard her demo tape earlier in the decade, he knew that she must be signed to the label immediately.  Check out the track I’ve Got to See You Again for some inspiration.  If you are online, try to download the unreleased track The Day is Done.  Norah has been featured on MTV and Krall has been written about in more mainstream publications.  Both have recent albums out (Norah’s is more country than anything else, although the set does close with one nice jazz ballad), and they each have a ‘Live Concert’ DVD being released by their record labels (Norah’s was recorded in Nashville; Krall’s is from last summer’s Montreal Jazz Festival.  Jones also has a film release from a live performance in New Orleans).  Surely these two will familiarize even more listeners to jazz over the years to come.