on November 28, 2000
I discovered this album because a friend of mine in the music industry (who doesn't know all that much about jazz vocalists) wanted to know if Diana Krall was as good as all the hype about her said she was. After a quick scan of the song list I replied that it would be easy to tell because she had a version of "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" and that was one of my favorite pieces -- not only one of my favorites, I said, but I have a recording on a mix tape at home by some woman (who's name escaped me) that I considered the definitive version of " Boulevard Of Broken Dreams".
Two seconds into the song I realized that this was the woman. I said, " she's better".
Diana Krall's ability to interpret standards is truly amazing. I have a fairly extensive collection of jazz vocal albums and I place this one right up there at the top with singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman, Nat Cole & Billy Holiday -- not necessarily because they sound alike, but more because all of these artists can sing a song and make you hear it differently than you've ever heard it before.
Now I'm not going to try to convince you that all of her recording are flawless, but this one is a pure winner. There's not a bad track on here. Some of the stand outs are 'You Call It Madness', 'You're Looking At Me', 'A Blossom Fell', and of course my favorite 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams'.
I can't wait for Diana to outgrow this label. They spend way too much time trying to promote her image. It's not an insult to say that her image is the least of her qualities.
After buying and enjoying her next two albums (Love scenes and When I look in your eyes), this one came as a surprise to me - but what a pleasant surprise. Like Jeri Southern, a brilliant singer-pianist of an earlier generation, Diana began as a pianist but was obliged to sing as well in order to get work. On this album, recorded when Diana was still unknown, Diana's piano is very prominent. For those who enjoy hearing Diana singing love songs, there are plenty here, but there are upbeat songs to give more variation than you will find in the other albums I mentioned.
Yet, this is all achieved with very few musicians. Russell Malone on guitar and Paul Keller on bass accompany Diana singing and playing piano. On most tracks, that's it. Steve Kroon plays percussion on Boulevard of broken dreams, while Benny Green plays piano on If I had you, leaving Diana (for that track only) to just sing.
You have to be good to deliver an album of such quality with so few musicians (especially without a drummer), but Diana and her musicians prove that it can be done. While I did not find this album as instantly appealing as her next two (perhaps because it was not what I expected), it is one that grows on me each time I play it.
on December 4, 1998
You can't argue that Diana Krall isn't sensous looking, and that's how her record company is selling her(pick up her fine XMAS 3 song CD/calendar and you'll see.) Listen carefully to this album and you'll hear sensual singing, thoughtful production and top notch musicianship. It is a joy, and so far the best of her recordings (and the others are all very good.) Listen in your car, or alone in a quiet room, or through headphones. Her voice, husky and idosyncratic, is mesmerizing. Her interesting pianistics matches perfectly. And her interplay with the phenomenal guitarist Russell Malone is almost telepathic. If this were a vinyl disk, you'd wear it out from overplaying. Every track is a gem, perhaps aided by the programmatic nature of this material. It makes you wish that the great Nat Cole were still here to hear this tribute! P.S. Want better than this disc? - You'll have to catch Krall live in an intimate jazz club setting. If she's in your neighborhood, don't miss her!!!
on January 31, 2000
I have been Nat King Cole fan for a long time, so when I saw this CD I thought I would give it a try. Boy am I glad that I did! The range of tunes that Diana covers is fantastic, and the way they are arranged is unforgettable. (no pun intended) I love the upbeat tunes like "Frim Fram Sauce" and "I'm an errand girl for rythm" as well as the soft soulful "A blossom fell". I can't beleive that there was a time when all she did was play the piano. Please find the person that conviced her to start singing and shake their hand for me. If you find a track on this CD you don't like, let me know, because I sure didn't. I would recommend this CD to anyone from 19 to 90.
on March 16, 2000
This is Diana Krall's best album, and if you are just starting to get to know her music, I would start with this one. I really love all her other albums too (I'd give them all five stars), but this one has the best balance of the sweet and sultry Diana Krall and the witty, winsome and fast playing Diana Krall that I love listening to. Stylistically, I think her singing in her subsequent CDs 'Love Scenes' and 'When I Look in Your Eyes' is more refined and understated, but 'All for You' is definitely closest to what she is like live.
And what a live show she puts on! I just saw her in Washington DC in March and she thrilled a packed theatre with her music, humor and charm. It is great to see that she is getting the acclaim that she deserves.
on February 4, 2001
As a die-hard fan of THE MAN, I am always skeptical of artists who attempt to remake Nat King Cole's songs. Many people fall short of recapturing the feeling that NKC evoked in his music. For years I have been in the frame of mind that only Natalie, Nat's daughter, and Freddie Cole, Nat's younger brother, were the only ones worthy of covering his material. Well, I admit I was wrong! Diana Krall and her trio have proved that.
Unlike Natalie Cole's tribute, on which she concentrated more on his career as a pop balladeer, Diana Krall celebrates Nat, the jazz musician, when he performed with his King Cole Trio in the 1940s. They were extremely popular with fans of both jazz and R&B until Nat gave it up to become a pop singer in the 1950s. But the love we fans have of the music he created with his Trio lives on! Diana shows a genuine love for Nat on this CD by utilizing the same format that NKC did with his piano/bass/guitar group, and the results are amazing. You have Diana on piano and singing lead, Russell Malone on guitar, and Paul Keller on bass. It has become one of my favorites. I love Diana's smoky voice, and I love how she puts a female twist on these songs. My favorites are "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", "The Frim Fram Sauce" and "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You", but everything is excellent, from start to finish. Take it from a Cole fan, this CD is a keeper!
on June 5, 2002
I'm dead-up, I really can't believe how modest she is when it comes to the talent she possesses. I almost admire that quality about her. That she could make it all sound so effortless, but still be so humble in her every word. Put Diana Krall behind a piano along with her bassist Paul Keller and guitarist Russell Malone and she is somethin' else. But then give her a set list of twelve standards from Nat King Cole during his much-overlooked days with the Trio in the 1940s, and she is gonna give you what you're looking for and more. This is one of the best tribute albums I've ever heard, and instead of directly copying Cole's style, pianistically and vocally, she adopts the tunes on her own terms and allows the music and her influence to speak for itself. Her playing is refined and mannered, her vocals, 'specially on the ballads are romantic and elegant, and overall she jus' brings somethin' truly special to the table.
She kicks the up-tempo and mid-tempo numbers with class and style like 'I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm' a perfect way to open the set, 'Hit that Jive Jack' in which her group joins her on the vocal sing-along, and one of my personal favorite Cole recordings 'Frim Fram Sauce', that bouncy little who-knows-what-the-hell-it-means number, but the real stand-outs are the lush ballads. Hearing her sing tunes like 'You Call it Madness' and the absolutely stellar 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams', ah, it's that late night thang, fa'real, the kind that puts me in a smoky club at 2 a.m., the hour when everybody has gone home except the people with nothing to go home to but trouble. I'll smoke a cigarette, throw one back, and then lay my head on the bar, close my eyes and get lost in the beautiful elegant sounds of Ms. Krall crooning 'I'm Thru with Love' into that microphone. Oh, and when she sings 'A Blossom Fell', all the pain and heartache of the song comes pouring out. I'm dead-up, I could cry listening to this song, and it's my personal favorite number she does on this album. My other favorite directly follows it and that is 'If I Had You', in which Benny Green handles the piano, and Krall makes this a sorrowful, wistful number, very close to an all-out torch song. This music has been given beautiful treatment by a true student of one of the greats. Well, what else can I say, whether she's at the piano or singing, or both, she is somethin' special. Nat would be proud. This was the first piece of music I bought by her, an' I'm hooked.
on August 3, 2001
The young and talented Diana Krall really comes into her own with this Grammy-nominated album, a tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio. The album contains ballads (the lovely and sad "Boulevard of Broken Dreams") and another version of the catchy (I dare you not to sing it!) "Frim Fram Sauce," which Krall recorded in a much slower version on an earlier album. Two other uptempo tunes deserve mention: the flamboyant "Hit that Jive, Jack" with its catchy, jittery rhythms, and "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm" with its natty piano bridge.
Krall is quickly becoming a vocalist to contend with, as versatile as other singers in her age range such as Jane Monheit or Madelaine Peyroux. And if that isn't enough, she's a gifted jazz pianist to boot. There isn't a misstep in song selection or performance on this album. A must-have for anyone interested in jazz vocals, piano jazz or general jazz aficionados.
Paying homage to the Nat Cole Trio, the most popular jazz combo of its day, Diana Krall (piano), Russell Malone (guitar), and Paul Keller (bass) bring some long-time favorites and some lesser known Cole Trio hits to life. The arrangements are terrific, ranging from slow, bluesy numbers, to swing, a torchy ballad, and forties-style jive. In every case, the emphasis is on the trio, and though Krall sings on every track, more than half of each song is instrumental, with extended solos on piano by Krall and guitar by Russell Malone.
Krall's voice is a full, sometimes husky, alto with very little vibrato, and though she can sing scat, and does on "Frim Fram Sauce," she is at her best singing slow songs of aching loss, where, occasionally, her phrasing reminds me of Sarah Vaughan. "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You," sung slower than Cole did it, is a sad, bluesy number with wonderful, casual jazz piano riffs. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," my favorite on the album, is torchy, the imagined tears kept under control as Krall pines for lost love, with the piano ranging into chromatic variations. In "You Call It Madness" and "I'm Through With Love," Krall keeps her voice whispery, singing slowly, almost confidentially, as she maintains the slow beat and melancholy mood. By contrast, "Hit That Jive, Jack," moves in a quick, toe-tapping rhythm, as Krall, Malone, and Keller sing together and have fun.
The album has plenty of variety to the selections and features three fine jazz instrumentalists who toured together and perfected their ensemble for several months before recording this album. With the earthy voice of Krall added to the instrumental mix, this album is certainly one of Krall's best--a huge success. There are no drums here (except on "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"), but that is not a limitation, and, in fact, may be an advantage, since the listener's attention remains focused on the tunefulness of the songs and their jazz variations. This is a fine homage to the Nat Cole Trio, which would have been justly proud of Krall's recording. Mary Whipple
on December 8, 2001
All For You is the best representative of Diana's gift for jazz and swing music at its best, whether bouncy or intimate. You may think you're listening to a live recording. Even Boulevard of Broken Dreams or You're Looking at Me remain sophisticated without the addition of strings. Played just as the Nat Cole Trio might have down at Smokey Joe's.
For someone raised on the pop and rock sounds that came out of the 60's hearing a trio play mostly without percussion was a revelation. When I clicked the local FM station back on after several hours with All For You as music while I worked, the incessant snare of the rock beat pounded in my head like waking up to a jack-hammer on the street below. I have _not_ been listening to jazz for decades. That's the point. I learned a lot about Nat Cole's early career that was unkown to me from the CD notes. If I hand't been able to listen to samples of this album, I would have considered it last because of the Nat Cole connection. I am in debt to Diana Krall for bringing to my attention music I would have never listened to without experiencing her love for it.
I am in agreement with the other reviewers here that this is a great CD to unwind to, with its spare arrangements and quiet presence, not sleepy or mushy with strings. I love the playful Frim Fram Sauce, which Diana makes her own on this performance. Errand Girl for Rhythm is exactly what Diana becomes on this CD, supplying us with a steady telegraphing of her gifted jazz piano. You're Looking at Me is delivered with knowing sophistication the lyric deserves. I enjoy the simpler arrangements and intuitive playing of All For You more than any of her later CD's containing lush string arrangements that just sound studied and distant to me. The guitar work of Russell Malone is very tasteful, blending well with Diana's piano.
This CD has a very intimate and immediate sound. The recoding mikes each player very close, making for the intimate sound of this performance. You feel as if you're right in the middle of Krall, Malone and Keller as they play. Each instrument (including her voice) can be heard distinctly. There is no "wall of sound" or distant miking and mushy strings to come between you and the artist.
The production on Diana's early efforts, such as her first CD and Love Scenes, is uneven and less polished in comparison to the effort lavished on All For You. That is partly why I chose this as the first Diana Krall CD I bought. Unlike the other CD's the mike level and quality does not vary wildly from song to song, which I find annoying.
If you have a strong liking for this recording you will probably have a strong dislike for Diana's later recordings made in lush string settings that place her and the band at a sonically distant location, as we are listening to the band at the back tables of a smoky nightclub in the '50s. The kind of stuff you'd expect to be playing on a penthouse hi-fi in an old movie. Diana does a solid job with the standards on When I Look in Your Eyes and continues the evolution on her new recording The Look of Love. But I can't help but think marketing forces are behind this transformation to the kind of sentimental, mushy sound that Nat Cole was doing by the time of hits like The Christmas Song. I'd like to think it's just Diana's changing sensibility, but could the same process be at work? I say this because I think if you're put off by her latest effort, then by all means try one of her earlier recordings.