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
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
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.