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Nanaimo jazz singer and pianist present musical tribute to Diana Krall

Narissa Young and Scott Arkell both have connections to renowned Nanaimo musician

A Nanaimo jazz vocalist is paying tribute to another Nanaimo jazz vocalist.

On March 15 Narissa Young, along with pianist Scott Arkell, bassist Marisha Devoin, drummer James McRae and guitarist Brad Shipley, is honouring Nanaimo’s Diana Krall with a concert at the Lighthouse Bistro.

Young said Krall was five years ahead of her in school and growing up, Krall was already “the legend in the halls.”

“We were all watching to see where she was going,” she said.

Young got into Krall’s music in the late ’90s as she was going through a separation. She said it was her nightly medicine during that time and she even had the chance to thank Krall in person when she spotted her shopping at the London Drugs where Young worked.

“I thought, ‘OK, put yourself in her shoes. Don’t freak out, don’t fan out on her and just say what’s in your heart and tell her that you appreciate [her music] and that it’s meant a lot to you and let her go about her day,’” she said.

Young said she tried to be unobtrusive and maintained her composure through the encounter, but she was still feeling the adrenaline immediately afterwards as she got back to work.

“I thought I would be fine. Nope. And so when I got back to the sales floor my knees almost buckled. I thought, ‘What is this? What is happening to me right now?’” Young said. “I left the sales floor, went, pulled it together and what I realized is that’s how profoundly music can affect people at a bodily level. Not just emotionally or excitement. I almost fell down.”

Arkell said he also has a connection to Krall as his grandmother was her first piano teacher and her would hear stories about her. He said he’s always looked up to Krall and admires her playing style.

“It’s lyrical but it could also be sparse or it could be like it’s saying a lot all at once,” Arkell said. “She has a very, I would say, advanced ability to communicate moods and feelings through her solos and that’s something that you have to be born with, that talent. You can’t teach that stuff.”

Young said she approaches performing with reverence and responsibility and she hopes to present a show that would make Krall proud.

“She’s living a life that very few get to live,” Young said. “It’s very rare the level that she’s reached and the journey that she’s had … it’s quite an amazing story and I just want to shine some light on that.”

WHAT’S ON … Narissa Young and Scott Arkell present a tribute to Diana Krall at the Lighthouse Bistro, 50 Anchor Way on March 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20, available at the venue, Fascinating Rhythm or online.

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Narissa Young and Scott Arkell are presenting a tribute to Diana Krall at the Lighthouse Bistro on March 15. (Photo courtesy Dirk Heydemann)