- I Love Being Here with You
- Let's Fall In Love
- Where or When
- Too Marvellous for Words
- I've Grown Accustomed to his Face
- Walk On By
- Frim Fram Sauce
- Cheek to Cheek
- You're My Thrill
- Let's Face the Music and Dance
- Every Time We Say Goodbye
- So Nice
- Quiet Nights
- Este Seu Olhar
- The Boy from Ipanema
- I Don't Know Enough about You
- Exactly Like You
Diana Krall - Vocals, piano
John Clayton - Bass
Jeff Hamilton - Drums
Anthony Wilson - Guitar
Paulinho DaCosta - Percussion
The Rio de Janeiro Orchestra conducted by Ruria Duprat
As I was less than enthusiastic about Diana's latest CD, Quiet Nights, you might expect me to feel the same about this DVD, which includes most of the same songs. However, I like the DVD much more, because it contains a lot more: 18 songs instead of a dozen, plus some extra film footage. My main reason for preferring the DVD is that it shows Diana Krall doing what she does best: playing piano and singing with a small group. Admittedly there is a large orchestra behind her, but they only play for about half the numbers, leaving the remainder to Diana and her trio (or quartet, when percussionist Paulinho DaCosta is added).
The DVD begins with Diana and the trio performing I Love Being Here with You, which allows them to play extended solos and to swing easily in common time. Their version of Let's Fall in Love is slow and relaxed, with Diana's piano reminiscent of Nat "King" Cole.
Where or When introduces percussionist Paulinho DaCosta and the full orchestra, playing - as on the recent CD - in gentle bossa nova mode. And, as on the CD, the lush strings water down the jazz content. In her introduction to the next song, Diana Krall says: "Singing standards with bossa nova is something that's kinda fun" - but it can also be bland, especially when one slow number follows another. After all, the bossa nova as envisaged by Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim was a tranquil form of the samba: music which can be seductive but which may also degenerate into blandness. Too Marvellous for Words and Walk On By both use a bossa beat, sandwiching a slow ballad version of I've Grown Accustomed to his Face.
Fortunately we return to the quartet for a mid-tempo Frim Fram Sauce, again evoking Nat Cole. The tempo quickens for Cheek to Cheek but this is only a temporary respite, as the orchestra returns for You're My Thrill. The orchestra lays out for Let's Face the Music and Dance, which the small group turns into one of the highlights of the DVD - swinging without inhibition. Then it's back to the orchestra again for a string-laden interpretation of Every Time We Say Goodbye.
And so the roller-coaster ride continues, switching between the orchestra and the small group. The latter excels in So Nice, which displays Diana's subtlety. Her voice caresses the lyrics and her fingers caress the piano keys. You can sense the audience's excitement as Krall sings Este Seu Olhar in Portuguese, followed by the inevitable Boy from Ipanema. For the latter, the audience starts by infuriatingly clapping on the on-beat but then (preferably) joins in singing the chorus.
The small group grooves through I Don't Know Enough about You, with guitarist Anthony Wilson stretching out, and drummer Jeff Hamilton adding some eye-watering drum breaks. The now-ecstatic audience demands an encore, and Diana returns for S'Wonderful and Exactly Like You.
Like the CD, the concert uses the orchestral arrangements by Claus Ogerman, which are cleverly written but too placid to be very stimulating. Only when playing with the small group of fellow jazzers does Diana Krall get the chance to exercise her jazz awareness.
The sound quality is first-class and the colour is fresh and bright - unlike some of those DVDs consisting of old footage dug out of the archives. This DVD also has a couple of extra features: a series of interviews with Diana and her musicians, and a promotional film for The Boy from Ipanema - which is the first single taken from the CD. These extras are interspersed with attractive film of Rio De Janeiro - a good travelogue for the city!
To sum up, this DVD offers much better value than the CD, and it lets us see Diana Krall as a jazz singer and pianist.