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Diana Krall: Wallflower

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: Verve Records
Released: 2015.02.03
Category: Vocal Jazz
Producer(s): David Foster, Jochem van der Saag
Media type: CD
Web address: www.dianakrall.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2015
Price in €: 1,00

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] California Dreamin' (John Phillips, Michelle Phillips) - 3:17
[2] Desperado (Glenn Frey, Don Henley) - 3:32
[3] Superstar (Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell) - 4:16
[4] Alone Again [Naturally] (Gilbert O'Sullivan) - 3:50
[5] Wallflower (Bob Dylan) - 3:05
[6] If I Take You Home Tonight (Paul McCartney) - 3:52
[7] I Can't Tell You Why (Timothy B. Schmit, Glenn Frey, Don Henley) - 3:40
[8] Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (Elton John, Bernie Taupin) - 4:11
[9] Operator [That's Not the Way It Feels] (Jim Croce) - 3:41
[10] I'm Not in Love (Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman) - 3:52
[11] Feels Like Home (Randy Newman) - 4:21
[12] Don't Dream It's Over (Neil Finn) - 3:37

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

Diana Krall - Piano, Vocals

David Foster - Arranger, Keyboards, Orchestration, Piano, Producer, String Arrangements
Jochem van der Saag - Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Programming, Sound Design, Synthesizer
Dean Parks - Guitar
Ramón Stagnaro - Acoustic Guitar
Stephen Stills - Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
Michael Thompson - Ebo, Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Dennis Crouch - Bass
Nathan East - Bass
Christian McBride - Bass
Karriem Riggins - Drums
Jim Keltner - Drums
Rafael Padilla - Percussion
Timothy B. Schmit - Background Vocals
Graham Nash - Background Vocals

Michael Bublé - Duet on [4]
Blake Mills - Guitar on [5]
Bryan Adams - Voclas on [11]

Gavin Greenaway - Conductor
Vince Mendoza - Orchestration
William Ross - Orchestration
Chris Walden - Orchestration, String Arrangements
Everton Nelson - Orchestra Leader

Christine Telleck - Production Manager
Roy Hendrickson - Engineer
Chris Porter - Engineer
Steve Price - Engineer
Spencer Sunshine - Engineer
Jorge Vivo - Engineer
Nuno Fernandes - Vocal Engineer
Hank Linderman - Vocal Engineer
Steve Genewick - Assistant Engineer, Pro-Tools
Chris Owens - Assistant Engineer
Paul Blakemore - Mastering
Paul Forgues - Assistant
Daniel Fyfe - Assistant
Isobel Griffiths - Contractor
Susie Gillis - Assistant Contractor
Adam Miller - Pro-Tools
Coco Shinomiya - Design
Grace Kim - Product Manager
Katherine Tempesta - A&R
Evelyn Morgan - A&R
Olivier Bassil - Copyist, Session Assistant
David Hage - Copyist

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

Wallflower is the twelfth studio album by Canadian recording artist Diana Krall, released on February 3, 2015 by Verve Records. The album was produced by David Foster. Wallflower debuted at number two on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 13,000 copies in its first week. In the United States, it entered the Billboard 200 at number ten with first-week sales of 44,000 copies, becoming Krall's sixth top ten album on the chart. The album debuted at number nineteen on the UK Albums Chart with 3,511 copies sold in its first week.

Diana Krall paid tribute to her father on Glad Rag Doll, the 2012 album sourced from his collection of 78-rpm records, and, in a sense, its 2015 successor Wallflower is a companion record of sorts, finding the singer revisiting songs from her childhood. Like many kids of the 20th century, she grew up listening to the radio, which meant she was weaned on the soft rock superhits of the '70s - songs that earned sniffy condescension at the time but nevertheless have turned into modern standards due to their continual presence in pop culture (and arguably were treated that way at the time, seeing cover after cover by middlebrow pop singers). Krall does not limit herself to the songbook of Gilbert O'Sullivan, Jim Croce, the Carpenters, Elton John, and the Eagles, choosing to expand her definition of soft rock to include a previously unrecorded Paul McCartney song called "If I Take You Home Tonight" (a leftover from his standards album Kisses on the Bottom), Bob Dylan's "Wallflower," Chantal Kreviazuk's "Feels Like Home," and Neil Finn's "Don't Dream It's Over," a song from 1986 that has been covered frequently in the three decades since. "Don't Dream It's Over" slides into this collection easily, as it's as malleable and timeless as "California Dreamin'," "Superstar," "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," or "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)," songs that are identified with specific artists but are often covered successfully. Krall's renditions rank among those successes because she's understated, never fussing with the melodies but allowing her arrangements to slink by in a deliberate blend of sparseness and sophistication. It's an aesthetic that helps transform the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why" and 10cc's "I'm Not in Love," singles that are as successful as much for their production as their song, into elegant torch songs, yet it doesn't do much for Kreviazuk's pedestrian "Feels Like Home," nor does it lend itself to the loping country of "Wallflower," which may provide the name for this album but feels like an uninvited guest among these majestically melodic middle-of-the-road standards. These stumbles are slight and, tellingly, they put into context Krall's achievement with Wallflower: by singing these songs as sweet and straight as the dusty old standards on Glad Rag Doll or the bossa nova on 2009's Quiet Nights, she demonstrates how enduring these once-dismissed soft rock tunes really are.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine - All Music Guide

Sophisticated, stylish, sultry and oh-so-tasteful describes jazz/pop singer/pianist Diana Krall’s entire catalog. Her hushed, deep ebony vocals and classy fretwork are perfect for that first Sunday morning cup of coffee. So, to say that this album of 60s and 70s pop ballad interpretations featuring her husky, agreeable but hardly arresting vocals, and notably no jazz, is more of the same with different tunes, isn’t really damning her with faint praise. Still, there are few surprises, either in the song selection or the sumptuous, somewhat overwrought orchestrations from David Foster. That may be adequate for her existing audience, but it certainly isn’t pushing any boundaries.

Besides a new Paul McCartney composition, listeners will recognize most all of these tunes. Selections include a few from the Eagles (“Desperado,” “I Can’t Tell You Why”), Elton John’s (“Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”), 10cc biggest US hit (“I’m Not in Love”) and Crowded House’s (“Don’t Dream it’s Over”). These lovely ballads are hard to ruin. She digs a little deeper to uncover Dylan’s obscure, countryish waltz title track and Randy Newman by way of Linda Ronstadt’s “Feels Like Home,” both of which slide perfectly into the opulent presentation. Working up Leon Russell’s already over recorded “Superstar” and a pleasant but far from exhilarating rearrangement of “California Dreaming” also doesn’t move the needle on this loving, affectionate yet rather bland set.

Perhaps it goes without saying that the initial versions of these classics are already definitive. But the eternally reserved Krall just isn’t a soulful, innovative or captivating enough singer to wring extra emotion out of tracks such as Jim Croce’s “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)” than was in the tearstained original and the plush often orchestrated backing, as pretty as it is, doesn’t help.

Current fans of a certain (over 50) age will swoon to these chestnuts, most of which should elicit tinges of bittersweet recollections as they walk down memory lane and sip their lattes. But ultimately this is a missed opportunity to either unearth obscure, under the radar gems from this era or push Krall outside her comfort zone with challenging interpretations that reveal new meanings in songs we already know by heart.

Hal Horowitz - February 3rd, 2015
© 2015 ForASong Media, LLC

Taylor Swift isn’t the only star who ditched her initial genre to double-down on pop this year.

Diana Krall created a parallel move with the new “Wallflower” album. The woozy, inventive jazz singer is trying to cross over to a fresh degree by covering songs that soared high on the Hot 100 during her youth. Towards that end, she mounted warhorses from the 1960s (The Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” Leon Russell’s “Superstar”) and the ’70s (Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word,” The Eagles’ “Desperado”).

Even the relatively obscure title track — Bob Dylan’s “Wallflower” — dates from 1971, although his version didn’t appear until decades later.

Krall nudges things a bit into the ’80s by covering Bryan Adams with “Feels Like Home,” in which she apes his rasp, and Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

As song choices go, most pf these rate as overly obvious. But that’s not what turns this album into such a compromise. Krall shows no interest in pushing out the bounds of the songs. Worse, she hands over all the arrangements, and the defining instrumentation, to producer David Foster.

Foster’s wall of strings saturates the mix, drowning Krall’s trademark piano. She takes only a few solos on the entire album. When she does so, it offers a needed gulp of fresh air amid Foster’s hermetically sealed sound.

“Wallflower” breaks another pattern for Krall. It eschews her frequent focus on American standards. But the sexiness and spring she brought to the best of those covers rarely comes into play here. “Desperado” isn’t aided by the dryness of Krall’s reading. And Jim Croce’s “Operator” loses any sense of momentum in Foster’s drenched strings.

“Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” too closely echoes Elton’s original reading, while “Superstar” seems redundant, given Krall’s similar pitch to the song’s best known interpreters, Rita Coolidge and Karen Carpenter.

At least there’s some beauty in the album’s sole previously unrecorded track - a cover of Paul McCartney’s graceful “If I Take You Home Tonight.” An uncommonly melancholic start to Krall’s take on “California Dreamin’” promises to make a pointed statement on the hippie dream. But, before long, Foster’s literal-minded arrangement turns this into just another piece of boomer-bait, one more song doomed to haunt the next PBS fund-raiser.

New York Daily News - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Diana Krall is a jazz pianist and vocalist who has recorded Brazilian music, Thirties jazz and songs co-written with her husband, Elvis Costello. So this collection of favorites by the likes of Randy Newman, the Carpenters, Jim Croce, Bob Dylan and Elton John, among others, fits easily into her tastefully eclectic comfort zone. Krall's elegant, personalized readings and pop veteran David Foster's string-heavy production can give a song like 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" or the Eagles' "Desperado" the glint of a modern standard. Even a Michael Bublé cameo on Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" can't wreck the power of Krall's beautifully desolate rendition.

Jon Dolan - February 3, 2015

Wallflower is a collection of songs from the late 60's to present day that inspired Krall in her early years. Produced by 16 time Grammy® Award winning producer David Foster, the album finds Krall breaking new ground with her interpretations of some of the greatest pop songs of all time.

On Wallflower, Diana Krall showcases her considerable gifts as a vocalist in a bold and beautiful way. Krall sings a set of songs that include familiar popular classics like The Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreaming" and the Eagles' "Desperado" favorite vintage songs by Krall's musical heroes Bob Dylan (he inspired the album's title track "Wallflower") and Elton John "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word". The album also features more recent gems like Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" and a wonderful new composition from Paul McCartney "If I Take You Home Tonight".

Diana Krall's unique artistry transcends any single musical style and has made her one of the most recognizable artists of our time. Krall has sold more albums than any other female jazz artist in the last 30 years, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her generation.

The new album marks Krall's first studio effort since 2012's Glad Rag Doll, produced by T Bone Burnett, which debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on the Jazz Albums chart. Diana Krall is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debut at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. To date, she has won five Grammy® Awards, eight Juno® Awards and has also earned nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums.


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