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Diana Krall handbill

27 January 2011

Store date: 10 October 1996

Here it is, the aforementioned Diana Krall flyer that “inspired” this website.

Diana and her trio (guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Paul Keller) came to town for three days. They played a date at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and headlined the Birmingham Jam at Sloss Furnaces. In between paying gigs, they (Diana and Russell) visited Laser’s Edge for a non-musical in-store. Diana’s All for You was to be released within the next couple of months (it ended up being one of the biggest sellers in the store’s history), so Diana was signing copies of Only Trust Your Heart from 1994. We were really excited for this visit. None of us had any idea that she’d end up being the big star she is today.

At the in-store, there was no rush of people; folks just turned up leisurely over the few hours between noon and the mid-afternoon. During the many breaks in the action, Diana would browse the classical section (I remember that she purchased the CD, The 1903 Grand Opera Series, as a gift for one of her parents) and cross the street to visit Shaia’s Plain Clothes (an upscale men’s clothier where she purchased a scarf for her mentor, Ray Brown, whose 70th birthday celebration was on Diana’s calendar as soon as she left Alabama). Russell spent much of the time at a guitar shop up the street, checking out the goods and most likely blowing people away with his chops and goofy jokes.

Attendance at the Jazz Hall concert was disappointingly low, but the show was terrific. I particularly remember Russell sitting in a low folding chair and grinding out a long, nasty guitar solo that dripped with swampy blues. The next evening’s set under a tent at Sloss Furnaces had a big, responsive crowd. At one point, a spider spun itself straight down from its perch above the piano to a spot directly in front of Diana’s face. She continued playing, leaning far back on the piano bench, arms extended to the keyboard, cringe upon her face. At another time in the set, a train (train tracks bordered the western side of the plot where the tent was located) rolled through, interrupting with a loud rumble the song the trio was playing. Diana immediately lit into a version of “Take the ‘A’ Train:” jazz improvisation at its best and most creative.

Jazz Hall director Sherri Nielson and I picked up the three musicians at the airport, and Sherri spent the next three days shuttling them all over town, checking out the Southern food offerings in Birmingham and taking them wherever they needed to go. Word got out (through me) that grits were a hit with Diana and, at the Jazz Hall show, my friend Helen gave her a package of Jim Dandy grits for the road. By this point we were all just enjoying spending time with Diana and Russell, and Helen felt this was a moment of bonding for them. Sherri, who truly was spending all of her time with them, surely felt this way, too. I remember hearing the word, “sister,” dropped more than once.

Here is the master that we used to photocopy the handbill:

Diana Krall in-store handbill master

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From → CDs, in-stores

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