Last updated 12:02 16/02/2010
It's been five years since Diana Krall last toured New Zealand - she thinks ("is it? It must be something like that?"). And in that five years she has released a couple of new albums - and a best of - but she has been very busy with other things.
"Right, yes, I have but do you know what?" - she is speaking quickly down the line - "I can't even think of all that right now, even though I know where you're going, because, do you know what - right now I am waiting to hear about my little boy who has had an allergic reaction to something and we're waiting to hear about his tests and so my mind is on that and it is on doing interviews and getting ready to play and to travel again and my mind is on so many things."
We both pause. I feel like I need to catch my breath as much as she does. And then there is a burst of laughter, and then "well that's set the tone then hasn't it? I've screwed this up for you."
Krall is the mother of three-year-old twin boys. They are, she tells me, the world to her - her family means everything. But music will never go completely on the back-burner. Because music is also the world to her...and with that we're back at the point where I wanted to start the interview; back to Krall discussing how she is now an international jazz-singing and -playing sensation - a bona fide pop star in the modern jazz world - and she is a mother. A mother who takes her kids on the road with her, setting up makeshift daycare centres in hotel rooms and apartment lodgings around the world...she doesn't see the need to separate the roles ("I can do both - it's not that hard") and tells me that actually doing both creates the perfect space for each facet to exist.
"You know what - I was always playing out at nights, in jazz clubs, staying up, not sleeping. As a mother you're not normally out at jazz clubs, but you're also not sleeping. So I have just combined the two." There's a break for a generous laugh, and then "I find that I get moments...and making music is always about moments; taking moments, making moments, making something from the moments you take. I just have a good reason now to not waste the precious moments I get."
Krall says that being a fulltime mother also means, simply, "I have lots going on right now but I'm happier. And that leads to being happy making music for me too."
The kids travel with Krall when she tours but they will not be making the trip out to Australia and New Zealand. "They're going on the road with their father this time. So they're still going on the road."
And this is good - this is how Krall and Costello want to raise the children, introducing them to music at any early stage, keeping as many members of the family together at any one time as is possible.
"They're learning - and they're enjoying - they love all kinds of music and we get to listen to lots in the cars, in transit..."
Whose music do they prefer?
"Actually their favourite thing to sing along to is Sheryl Crow, which I think is just fine. I mean she has some great singalong songs. I'm not sure their father thinks that's as great as I do - but he's certainly not unhappy about it. It's very affirming - it takes me back to when I was young and hearing music for the first time. I mean I was raised on Ray Brown, which is why he is - still - such a hero to me."
Krall says it is "definitely on the cards" to consider making a children's album and she wants to write a children's book. "My kids are just obsessed at the moment with monsters, they're all 'Mummy, Mummy, there are no monsters, right?' And I'm like, 'you know what, actually...'" she bursts into a big laugh; just the one.
I suggest that this is where she introduces her sons to some people from the record companies...
The laugh stops. "Well, yeah I've met some monsters in this industry I guess - but I do have to be serious here and say that I have just been so lucky with my record company; so lucky with the people I've been involved with, particularly in the last few years, I'm just blessed to be able to do this thing that I do; to tour and record and to know that there is an audience that appreciates my music."
Krall has just released Quiet Nights; it's available now as a special tour-edition with a bonus DVD. She says it came from a desire to "go back to some favourite songs I had never recorded; to get involved again with large band arrangements, with strings and things to go around the quartet".
She enjoys the freedom and scope of playing shows with an orchestra - or with her quartet. "You guys are just getting me and my band - but we're great; I have some amazing musicians in my band and you're just going to love it."
And will they have time to visit any of the wineries they are playing at?
"Oh, we don't drink," Krall tells me. And then, she almost bursts as she blurts out "I'm kidding. Man we play these gigs so we can get close to the alcohol! By the time you see me I'm probably going to have cramp in my arm and won't be able to play because I will have pulled so many corks out of so many wine bottles."
Diana Krall will be playing shows with Melody Gardot and Madeleine Peyroux.
She says she has not played with either but is looking forward to it. "I loved Melody's album; she has a great future ahead of her and I have kept up with Madeleine's work and particularly I love the new album [Bare Bones] where she did all the writing herself and was involved with all the songs. She's a great talent and I'm excited to come down there and to have them with me. I'm actually feeling like a fan who gets to go to the show."
And with that, Krall is off to check on one of her babies. The fulltime mother is also a professional musician and clearly a professional interviewee...
Click here for the details about the tour.