Diana Krall on New Album 'Turn Up the Quiet': 'The Only Concept Was Not to Have a Concept'

Mary McCartney
Diana Krall

Diana Krall had little to prove when she entered the studio to record Turn Up the Quiet, her latest album, which was released Friday on Verve Records. And the 52-year-old jazz legend tells Billboard that she simply wanted to keep things loose in the studio -- while surrounded by some of her favorite musicians, of course.

"I’ve done standards records before, but [this time] we just got the best players that I know,” Krall, who worked with longtime producer Tommy LiPuma on the album, tells Billboard. "I wanted to create three different ensembles: a quartet, a trio and a band that Tommy and I had recorded with before. We just wanted to see what would happen. The only concept was not to have a concept.”

The trio of Krall, bassist Christian McBride and guitarist Russell Malone weave through classics like “Blue Skies,” while the five-time Grammy winner tapped Tony Garnier, Karriem Riggins and Stuart Duncan for “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Krall says she went into the studio with some basic chord changes in mind and didn’t have to communicate verbally with such trusted players beside her.

"We just wanted to make a jazz record without a theme and see where it went in the studio,” she says. "I have such amazing players that we just wanted to play without thinking about it too much. … For 'Night and Day,' a lot of it was improvised on the spot. I’m experienced enough now to have the freedom to do that, and the confidence to do that. That’s what jazz should be: an improvisation.”

Krall says she came up with about 40 tunes for the project and chose 11 to make the track list for her first album since 2015’s Wallflower. Prior to the album release last week, Krall was piecing together behind-the-scenes short films that “keep things positive and promote education,” instead of configuring an all-out social-media blitz to promote the album.

"I make sure that we don’t use social media just for marketing,” she says. "I’m trying to create a story about how this album came about.”

And that story will be told across the globe, when Krall kicks off a sprawling world tour in support of Turn Up the Quiet on June 2 in Minneapolis. "It's a very liberating album for me,” says Krall. "I'm just so glad I'm not trying to re-create something that I've already done, because you can't go back. You have to move forward."