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Dispatches from Montreal (9): Diana Krall at FIJM 2023

Diana Krall with Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton, Anthony Wilson
(Salle Wilfried Pelletier, Montreal 4 July 2023)

I’ve been thinking about Diana Krall’s Montreal connections and had a chat recently with record producer Jim West of Justin Time records, based here in the city.

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He remembers that in 1992 he was picking up a very strong buzz about a young singer from British Columbia. He remembers: “When you receive two or three calls about an artist in a week, there’s something there…” Those calls were coming from pianist Oliver Jones, from a CBC producer, and others. West and Krall met, and agreed to make a recording. It was issued as “Stepping Out” earlier the following year with Jeff Hamilton on drums and John Clayton on bass. They recorded in Los Angeles… “Flawless,” West remembered – about all of them – when we spoke.

And there were Krall, Hamilton and Clayton again last night, plus guitarist Anthony Wilson, for the first of Krall’s two shows at the biggest of the festival’s biggest ticketed venues.

Krall’s emotion at being back in Montreal with Clayton and Harrison was palpable. And she was having fun with the theme of rain – it had been raining heavily during the day. Combining a rain theme (tenuously but why not?!) and a Montreal theme… out came Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” for example, a highlight of the show. It fits with Krall’s increasingly languorous style.

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