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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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DIANA KRALL

Quiet Nights

Verve 0602517931107

 

 

  1. Where or When
  2. Too Marvelous For Words
  3. I've Grown Accustomed to his Face
  4. The Boy from Ipanema
  5. Walk On By
  6. You're My Thrill
  7. Este Seu Olhar
  8. So Nice
  9. Quiet Nights
  10. Guess I'll Hang My Tears out to Dry
  11. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
  12. Every Time We Say Goodbye


Diana Krall - Piano, vocals
Anthony Wilson - Guitar
John Clayton - Bass
Jeff Hamilton - Drums
Paulinho Da Costa - Percussion
Orchestra arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman 

Nat "King" Cole was one of Diana Krall's idols - and perhaps still is, but now what happened to Nat is happening to Diana. Both Cole and Krall started as jazz pianists who also sang but Nat "King" Cole eventually became a full-time vocalist and gave up the piano-playing as well as most of the jazz. At least Diana Krall still plays the piano but the focus has shifted so that, on most tracks here, she only gets to play some piano for part of the second chorus of a song before returning to the vocals. And the girl who once sang with her own trio is now accompanied by a massive orchestra, which was apparently added after Diana had recorded the songs with her quartet. I have listed the four accompanying jazzmen (although they are given little to do) but I have omitted the orchestra members because there are about 60 of them! Perhaps arranger Claus Ogerman wasn't joking when he told Diana Krall: "It's a gloomy string orgy".

Diana's voice is still a thing of beauty - although rather breathier than I had remembered - but the lush orchestral backings threaten to swamp her in waves of saccharine. There is still jazz in her piano playing, although it often sounds subdued - even minimal. She has gradually been turned from a jazz singer into an easy-listening artist. If she became famous as a jazz vocalist, why not let her stay that way? Recording studios are crowded with easy-listening singers, but good jazzers are rare and precious.

The other element that tends to dilute Diana's talent is the choice of material, which consists mostly of bossa novas and ballads performed to a gentle hint of bossa rhythm. As I have suggested before, a whole album predominantly in bossa nova style is in danger of becoming samey, especially if - as here - the tempos are universally slow.

Nonetheless, the album is very listenable. How could it be otherwise with such a talented vocalist performing bossa novas by the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim and standards by such teams as Rodgers & Hart and Lerner & Loewe? But blandness pervades the album with its deadening hand. And buyers beware! The album is being issued in a limited edition, so presumably later copies may not include the two final "bonus tracks".


Tony Augarde



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