Diana Krall Shows Off Her ‘Dreamy’ Designs

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Diana Krall | This Dream of You | (Verve)
4 out of 5 stars

Credit Diana Krall with doing what she does best on her sumptuous new album, This Dream of You, a collection of (mostly) classic covers rendered in her distinctive signature sensual style. All hushed smoky vocals, subtle orchestration and arrangements and, of course, her exquisite and articulate piano playing, it shares its nocturnal ambiance and late night caress in an intimate but expressive manner, one that would befit a supper club setting. Krall, of course, has gone from being a rarified jazz chanteuse to a more mainstream provocateur, a reputation helped perhaps by the fact that she’s married to Elvis Costello, even though the two operate along an even divide. To her credit however, she’s remained true to her muse by bringing a contemporary sensibility to her devotion and discipline.

Of course, those who’ve followed her career since early on ought not be surprised by that assessment. With nine albums that debuted at the top of the jazz charts — the only jazz vocalist who can claim that distinction — as well as five Grammys, ten Juno Awards, and nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums, her credence is unquestionable. Indeed, her appeal with both pop and traditional jazz aficionados attests to both her diligence and diversity.  

Naturally, both are evident in this new offering as well. Aided and abetted by her longtime backing band consisting of bassist John Clayton Jr., drummer Jeff Hamilton and guitarist Anthony Wilson, as well as a stripped down trio that finds renowned bassist Christian McBride and acclaimed guitarist Russell Malone parring down the performances, Krall applies her usual subtlety and finesse to a selection of solitary standards with a seemingly effortless finesse. “That’s All,” “Autumn in New York,” “There’s No You,” and “How Deep Is the Ocean” retain their seductive allure, aided and abetted by a sprightly take on the ebullient “Almost Like Being In New York” and the Gene Kelly showstopper “Singing in the Rain.” Among the venerable composers represented here  — Irving Berlin, Lerner and Lowe, Billy Rose et. al. — Bob Dylan finds representation with “This Dream of You,” a relatively obscure entry from his 2009 opus Together Through Life that finds a surprising fine fit here.

These days, a classic croons are cool again. Witness the 90-something year old Tony Bennett or the ongoing admiration for Sinatra, Bobby Darin and others that share that seemingly romantic repast. In that regard, This Dream of You offers comforts you can count on.

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