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Positive Feedback ISSUE 2
august/september 2002


kralllive.bmp (478854 bytes)

Diana Krall, Live in Paris
(Eagle Eye Media EE19012)
by Ed Morwaski

This is something a little different for me (and Positive Feedback), a review of a DVD, but I thought this was so special that I begged the editor to let me do it. I wanted to share this with all my fellow audiophiles, jazz enthusiasts, and Diana Krall fans. But you don't have to be a fan of DK to enjoy this DVD.

From the very first glimpse of the stage, with all the musicians wearing suits and ties, you can see this is going to be a class act. Live in Paris is one of the finest DVDs of any genre I have ever seen. It transports the viewer to a classier past, when the big band era was alive and well, but with twenty-first-century technology. The video quality is simply stunning, the lighting perfect, the cinematography exceptional. Let me break it down. In no case is there ever glare from the subdued lights, or too little or too much contrast. You can clearly see each performer, as if you were floating unseen around the stage. The camera operators never intrude or lose track of their objective—to make you feel part of the experience. The camera does not dwell too long on any performer or angle but effortlessly glides around, focusing on a face here, a hand there. At points where many would get bored, they cut from the concert to scenes of Paris, in the fall and at night. This is done with a delicate hand—just enough to make the whole process interesting and enhance the emotion of the performance—then it's back to the concert and a closeup of Diana or the musicians.

I especially enjoyed the occasional closeup of Krall's hands and the way she holds them while playing. She has a somewhat unusual style, but anyone who has ever said she is merely an average player should see this disc. She pours her heart into her piano, and she is really talented. The music is quite enthralling. The concert starts with just her five-man group, and expands to encompass the entire European Symphony Orchestra, yet we never lose sight (or sound) of the music and the focus on Krall's singing and playing. She can sound cold on her CDs, but here she imparts much feeling, as do all the musicians. It is amazing that the director was able to achieve such intimacy in the midst of the hundreds of performers and thousands of people in the audience. As the camera slowly pans across the musicians’ faces, you are struck by their expressions of joy. These people so obviously love what they are doing, and you can't help but be drawn in emotionally. I have been to many concerts that were nowhere near as intimate as this DVD!

Amazingly, as the hour-and-a-half concert continues, DK and the musicians get better and better. Krall starts out looking a little haggard, but by the end she has slowly transformed into a vibrant, soulful performer. She actually glows by the final song. The same applies to all the musicians. Every member of the orchestra puts his or her heart and soul into their performance, and it is a joy to experience. I sat tirelessly for the entire concert, not wanting to move or even breathe. This disc must be experienced by anyone who loves music.

The sonic quality of the disc is superior to almost any music CD. The disc contains several Dolby Digital mixes as well as DTS. Fortunately, my system is DTS compatible, and that is the way I chose to listen. This is the first multi-channel music DVD I have heard that actually enhances the aural experience. The rear surround channels carry only "ambience," and it truly seems as though you are IN the concert hall. I preferred the microphone setup and engineering on this DVD to that of the CD version. The sound on the DVD is much more balanced, without overemphasis of any instrument.On the CD, the electric guitar on several cuts is too loud, but on the DVD it is slightly quieter, giving a much more enjoyable sound.

The DVD also contains a few extras; several rehearsal tapes and two music videos are included. I especially liked the video for "Look of Love," which I had not seen. It is very clever, one of the best I’ve seen, but I won't spoil the fun of discovering it for yourself by saying more.

Every person involved in this project displays exceptional talent and class. It is very rare that this much professionalism comes together in one place, but fortunately that is exactly what happens in Live in Paris. Make this part of your collection and you will cherish it for many a year to come. Really special