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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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The Very Best of

Verve 0602517444478







1. 'sWonderful
2. Peel Me A Grape
3. Pick Yourself Up
4. Frim Fram Sauce
5. You Go To My Head
6. Let's Fall In Love
7. The Look Of Love
8. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)
9. I've Got You Under My Skin
10. All Or Nothing At All
11. Only The Lonely
12. Let's Face The Music And Dance
13. The Heart Of Saturday Night
14. Little Girl Blue
15. Fly Me To The Moon

1. Narrow Daylight
2. Let’s Face The Music And Dance
3. The Look of Love
4. Temptation
5. Almost Blue
6. Abandoned Masquerade
7. Fly Me To The Moon
8. The Girl In The Other Room
9. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Diana Krall was probably destined to become a superstar, as she’s a marvellous singer who also plays the piano brilliantly (is it relevant that she’s also a blue-eyed blonde?). Her voice is enough of an attention-grabber, as she sings perfectly in tune with a beautiful tone which can be gently seductive as well as powerfully expressive. And, like Nat "King" Cole before her, she accompanies herself at the piano with consummate skill and jazz feeling. In fact most of us first heard her leading a Nat Cole-style trio and even doing some of his songs (like Frim Fram Sauce, which is on this album).

To get the "Very Best" of Diana Krall onto one CD is a difficult task, especially as the selection is not limited to the dozen albums she has released. Three of the tracks (5, 11 and 13) have not been issued before. If you get the Deluxe Edition, there’s a bonus DVD containing nine music videos and filmed performances. If you want the complete package, it will probably cost you about £6 more than the CD alone.

The CD consists mainly of jazz standards. All but two of the tracks come from albums released five years ago or more, suggesting that Diana’s star may no longer be in the ascendant – or at least that her most popular performances were between the late nineties and early noughties. I certainly regretted it when she moved from the simplicity of the jazz trio to accompaniments by big orchestras. I also regretted her apparent move away from jazz after she started collaborating with husband Elvis Costello. Narrow Daylight, the first track on the DVD (co-written by Krall and Costello), is nearer folk music than jazz, although Diana imparts more jazz feeling to the four other numbers on the DVD that were written or co-written by Costello. All five of them come from the 2004 album The Girl in the Other Room.

The DVD includes some "music videos", which mean that Diana’s lovely voice is accompanied by silly images. Let’s Face The Music And Dance is illustrated with unsuitable pictures of Diana looking rather grumpily at other couples in love. The video of The Look Of Love is gimmicky but pointless. The DVD’s best tracks show Diana singing at the piano, with Anthony Wilson on guitar, Christian McBride on bass and Peter Erskine at the drums. Fly me to The Moon has her accompanied simply by bassist John Clayton (apparently on a TV show) and What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve is a touching studio performance with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

The music here is fine, but jazz fans may find some of Diana Krall’s early work more accessible than her recent recordings. There’s no doubt about her vocal or instrumental ability: the only question is what direction she takes in future, and whether this will be better or worse than her "Very Best".

Tony Augarde


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