Reception of Diana Krall, Unique Jazz Phenomenon

by Zuzana Ben Lassoued-Balazsházyová (Author)
©2018 Thesis 190 Pages


Reception of Diana Krall, Unique Jazz Phenomenon tracks Diana Krall’s piano and vocal interpretation from early to advanced development. The author analyzes her music compared to the major jazz pianists and vocalists and traces her European roots combined with North American influence. Musicality, aesthetics, and original interpretation are defined factors for the communication between the listener and the performer and the main characteristics of Diana Krall’s interpretation. Described are also influences of social media, management, marketing and the position of the woman in this society.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgment
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • 1 New art
  • 1.1 Perception and reception of new art
  • 1.2 Sociological reasons for complete understanding of music
  • 1.3 Aesthetical, philosophical and musical factors leading to complete understanding of music
  • 1.4 Social and cultural aspects
  • 1.5 Marketing reason of complete (mis)understanding of music
  • 1.6 Current situation of the issues
  • 2 Life
  • 2.1 Roots: Grandparents and parents, connections to Slovakia
  • 2.2 Childhood: Personality and interests, connections to Canada
  • 2.3 Education: High school in Canada, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Los Angeles education and New York opportunities
  • 2.3.1 High school in Canada
  • 2.3.2 Berklee College of Music in Boston
  • 2.3.3 Los Angeles education and New York opportunities
  • 2.4 Family: Husband, children and sister
  • 3 Music
  • 3.1 Early music: music developed by ear, old records, rejection in a choir, high school band, gigs and radio
  • 3.2 Developed music: first success, playing and touring with other musicians
  • 3.2.1 Awards
  • 3.3 Diana’s piano performances compared to jazz pianists – analyses and transcriptions
  • 3.4 Diana’s singing compared to jazz vocalists
  • 3.5 Improvisation, composition, piano and vocal techniques of Diana Krall
  • 3.6 “Fly Me to the Moon” in an interpretation of Diana Krall, Frank Sinatra and Nat ‘King’ Cole
  • 3.6.1 Analysis of Fly Me to the Moon
  • 3.6.2 Differences in sound, style and rhythmic phrasing, keys, orchestration and arrangements, approaches to the time signature, forms, chord progressions, lyrics, and vocal technique
  • Sound
  • Style and rhythmic phrasing
  • Three different keys
  • Orchestrations and arrangements
  • Approaches to the time signature
  • Three different forms
  • Chord progressions
  • Lyrics
  • Vocal technique
  • 3.6.3 Evaluation
  • 3.6.4 Significant recordings from 1954 – 1970. 30 Years Gap (1970 – 2000)
  • 3.7 Music beyond music sheets
  • 3.8 Sexuality, racism and gender in jazz
  • 3.8.1 Sexuality
  • 3.8.2 Racism
  • 3.8.3 Gender in jazz
  • 3.9 Management, marketing and mafia
  • 3.9.1 Management
  • 3.9.2 Marketing
  • 3.9.3 Mafia
  • 3.10 New approach of Diana Krall to music, example of the sociological and aesthetical analysis
  • 3.11 Performance observation
  • 4 Conclusion
  • 4.1 Diana Krall’s Discography
  • 4.2 Diana Krall’s Filmography
  • 4.3 Diana Krall’s Music Videos
  • Bibliography


This work explores the development of jazz and popular music as a global and historical developmental display in present time focusing on piano and vocal works in improvisation of the Canadian singer and pianist with European roots, Diana Krall. It includes the analysis of historical jazz styles along with the contribution of Diana Krall’s personal addition to the various piano techniques in jazz.

Subject of the research are developmental changes in piano and vocal improvisation of Diana Krall in comparison to the main representatives of jazz piano styles (Nat ‘King’ Cole, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea), and vocal styles (Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Frank Sinatra, Kevin Mahogany, Andy Bey and Kurt Elling), confronting both styles in simultaneous play of Diana Krall on the piano and singing. I am also documenting the biographies and genealogies of the emigrants and great grandparents of Diana Krall.

The goal of the research is to analyze and evaluate the developmental trends of piano and vocal interpretation in jazz and extend these analytical trends to Diana Krall’s work and her artistic values of her interpretation and contribution to piano technique as well as her unique use of vocals and piano simultaneously.

Integrity and identity gains new essences in a case of this personality. This work will bring complex analyses of piano jazz interpretation and works in addition to multicultural artistic and musical influences stretching from Europe to Canada. Additionally, this work will enrich domestic and international theoretical works to address the stated problems.←13 | 14→←14 | 15→

1New art

1.1Perception and reception of new art

How do we define contemporary music? How can society understand the new musical trends of the 20th and 21st century? What value does contemporary music hold for society? To understand what Diana Krall’s music has brought to the evolution of music, it is imperative to answer these questions.

Listeners’ perceptions of music experienced great change during World War II and the Cold War due to the frigid global political conditions. Appreciation of the musical styles of the nineteenth and twentieth century grew significantly, whereas other alternative modern styles (serialism, punctualism, sonorism, aleatoric music, dodecaphony, contemporary alternative, improvised music/ jazz…) remained obscure to much of the population. Modernism had not been publicly accepted but postmodernism which is constructed from minimal music, retro style, a new simplicity, performance art, body art and conceptual art has been popularly accepted. The foundation for complete understanding of music reception is found by exploring the sociological, aesthetical, philosophical and musical analysis. Marketing had a large influence on the music scene and has relaxed listeners’ musical perceptions in the twenty-first century, allowing for greater cultural omniconsumption.

Eric Satie said that reality is the environment, and everything that a person wants to do is a solution.[4] This idea is illustrated in the following remark by the Slovak contemporary composer Daniel Matej (1963) who studied with Louis Andriessen, and is considered to be the Slovak John Cage:

People are more and more exposed to a pop culture, which does not disturb their ideas about the world in which they live. There is no need to question because pop culture offers them cheap seeming brilliance with fast solutions, and it convinces people with a pleasant feeling that everything is right and it cannot be different. People do not realize that through this superficial glitz, their pop culture is convincing them of who they are… Students of composition are not interested in what is happening in contemporary music, they are interested in Shostakovich and Stravinsky. They tend too much towards history… Death starts when we stop questioning ourselves.” (1997).[5]←15 | 16→

This is a perfect metaphor to illustrate this imperial need for complete understanding. It is evident that questions, critiques and analyses are all essential in order to establish clarity. What value does contemporary music hold for our society? What is contemporary music? Does contemporary music include jazz? How can society understand the new trends in twentieth and twenty-first century music and how can it benefit? What kind of impact does ‘new art’ have on society, groups and individuals?

In the last few decades many movements have tried to make contemporary music more visible and audible; however, there is still a huge gap between contemporary music and society in terms of understanding of this music. The term “complete understanding” in Daniel Matej´s opinion takes into consideration other musicological terms, including the “perception” and “reception” of music. How many decades do we have to wait to fill this gap between music and society? When will contemporary music be as publicly recognized as classical music? We are in the twenty-first century and we see the music of the nineteenth century as contemporary, suggesting more than a hundred years of confusion. What has happened in those years?

The general public and academia have received the music of the twentieth and twenty-first century differently. The postmodern style of Steve Reich and Philip Glass has been appreciated, whereas the modern style of Arnold Schönberg has not been understood by contemporary audiences. For the general public, postmodernism which begins with minimal music, retro style, new simplicity, performance art, body art and conceptual art has been accepted along with postmodernism in jazz, which began after 1969 (jazz rock, fusion music and nu jazz) and new music which started in 1964 (Terry Riley: In C, 1964)[6]. However, modernism has failed to be publicly accepted especially in North America although we could find examples which would prove the opposite.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2018 (December)
piano interpretation vocal interpretation improvisation jazz and pop music perception and reception management and marketing
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2018., 189 pp., 4 fig. col., 33 fig. b/w, 5 tables

Biographical notes

Zuzana Ben Lassoued-Balazsházyová (Author)

Zuzana Ben Lassoued – Balazsházyová holds a PhD in Musicology. She has been teaching music from elemenatry to university level in Europe, USA and Canada for the past 27 years. She is also a pianist, artist of musical oil paintings, and author of the sheet music.


Title: Reception of Diana Krall, Unique Jazz Phenomenon
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191 pages