In the Media
    by RIC TAYLOR photo by MICHAEL CHAMBERS, VIEW Magazine

    At the early age of 19, Diana Panton was turning heads. Becoming a stand out with early appearances with the Hamilton All-Star Jazz Band and concerts with pianist David Braid, it took nearly a decade but Panton realized her first CD in 2005 with …yesterday perhaps. Acclaimed by the national media as one of the year’s best jazz works, it’s now taken two years for Panton sophomore CD, but it was well worth the wait.

    While her debut CD explored her penchant for French, that Panton also offers as a professor of the language, her new CD, if the moon turns green …, explores the more mystical qualities of the universe of song.

    “When I started compiling songs, I began to notice a proliferation of songs related to the moon and stars and eventually these songs started to congregate together toward a concept album,” recalls Panton. “At the time, I didn’t realize that I was not the first jazz musician to explore this theme and as the project progressed, more and more albums started to surface around the same concept. This really shouldn’t be too surprising given the number of 50-odd songs that came to mind as I started compiling my own list, it truly is a theme that has inspired many composers, particularly back in the 1920s and ‘30s. I briefly thought of moving on to another idea, but the more albums I came across, the more I realized that some of the songs I had picked as my final cuts were quite different from those on other albums and I thought the album might be a complimentary addition to those that had preceded it.”

    With a subtle, understated vocal style and a minimal yet intriguing musical backdrop (featuring Don Thompson on piano and bass and Reg Schwager on guitar), Panton breathes new life into these songs embracing the elegance of melody and still lifting some songs to a new level. Jazz fans should be delighted but music fans on a whole should take note of this up and coming singer.

    “I always try to be as present to the lyrics as possible – to tell the story and be honest,” offers Panton on her musical interpretations. “In that way, it becomes more about the music and less about me. I enjoy and immensely respect the talent of a number of diverse jazz musicians from Lester Young to Sheila Jordan to Billy Eckstine. My three primary influences vocally are Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, but as much as three ladies were my teachers in the past, little by little, I am growing into my own voice and my own sound. My goal is simply to select songs I like and perform them to the best of my ability and I am grateful to anyone who takes the time to listen and feel something.

    “I think the new CD will an exciting one for jazz aficionados, as hopefully there will be some new discoveries for them, just as there were for myself as I sought out the tunes for this album,” adds the singer. “But I think the universal themes of love and hope associated with the moon and stars will also be accessible to a wider audience.”

    July 5 – 11. 2007 VIEW