Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Elvis Costello - North

Are Diana Krall and Elvis Costello morphing into each other? While Krall inches further into pop, her future hubby has plunged headlong into jazz. Costello’s latest album sees him working with saxman Lee Konitz, the Jazz Passengers and the Mingus Big Band (along with usual suspects Steve Nieve, Pete Thomas and classical cohorts the Brodsky Quartet). Piano ballads like “I’m in the Mood Again” and “When Green Eyes Turn Blue” are tailor-made for Ms. Krall and good chemistry for a marriage made in musical heaven.

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Diana Krall - The Girl in the Other Room

Although she covers Tom Waits, the big news is that Krall is emerging as a fine songwriter. Where the glamour puss previously penned only several songs, here she co-writes six with influential husband Elvis Costello. Some, like “Abandoned Masquerade” and “I’ve Changed My Address,” are stark jazz ballads. But others put Krall in either Norah Jones territory (the catchy, pop-flavored “Narrow Daylight”) or the Joni Mitchell camp (the cool, confessional narrative of “Departure Bay”). Clearly, marriage suits her.

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Feature Article: Elvis Costello - Elvis Goes North

My editor thinks Elvis Costello’s latest album, North, is a lot like Frank Sinatra’s 1954 classic In the Wee Small Hours. He’s right: both recordings are intimate explorations of emotional loss and the rush of new romance. On top of that, the string-backed piano ballads pack an immediate, visceral punch despite their spare instrumentation. When Costello calls, I mention the comparison. “That’s very flattering,” he says from the back of a limousine speeding along the Autobahn somewhere between Berlin and Hamburg. “Sinatra’s album is a masterpiece.” Then he brings up the Diana Krall factor: “People have made assumptions based on changes in my life that the appearance of quiet sounds,...

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Liner Notes: Various artists - All Canadian Jazz

Canadian jazz has come a long way from the day that Oscar Peterson made his auspicious debut at New York's Carnegie Hall. The young Montreal pianist, sharing a bill with Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, "stopped the concert dead cold in its tracks," according to down beat magazine, displaying "a flashy right hand, a load of bop and a good sense of harmonic development." Peterson soared to fame virtually overnight, followed a short time later by Montreal trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. For the longest while, they were the only jazz stars from Canada. And, with a distinct lack of domestic gigs, they worked almost exclusively in the United States. Joining Peterson an...

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Music Review: Diana Krall - The Look of Love

Soft, subtle, subdued, seductive. Canada’s celebrated singer-pianist seems to attract alliterative adjectives with her brand of smooth and sophisticated jazz. No surprises here, just more exquisitely phrased chestnuts, a sensuous Latin tinge and stately backing by the London Symphony Orchestra. Krall could be accused of playing it safe, but why mess with such a successful sound?

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