Diana Krall explores love, jazz at Gilmore Keyboard Festival (Review)
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012, 6:55 AM Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012, 10:21 AM
KALAMAZOO, MI — Diana Krall poured on the languid romance, plus jazz and pop, at her sold-out Gilmore Festival set in Chenery Auditorium Sunday night.
Half-way though the night, after saying something enigmatic about how her homeland of Vancouver is "very much like Rio de Janeiro," she dropped whatever point she was making with, "It's all about love, anyways, isn't it?"
It is, and for Krall, love is slow, quiet and, even with around 1,500 people in the audience, intimate. Behind this reviewer someone dropped something — amazing how loud a plastic cup can be while rolling down the floor under rows of seats as a Grammy-winning jazz/pop star sings and plays piano in hushed tones of audio pastel.
After her statement about love, she did "Quiet Nights" the title track of her 2009 album. The Antonio Carlos Jobim tune is usually a quiet bossa nova, but Krall made it even more of a slow hush, with great jazz guitarist Anthony Wilson tickling the strings.
Many of her songs Sunday night might make one wish to rest one's head in the lap of Krall's voice, or go find a private spot with your loved one, or maybe feel a need for a cup of coffee. A few times it was reminiscent of Isabella Rossellini's "Slow Club" scene in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet."
Also from "Quiet Nights," "You're My Thrill" had the band working to create a smokey romance with Krall. She turned the Irving Berlin standard "How Deep Is the Ocean?" into a pop ballad with rich piano chords of dark chocolate.
She covered moody, bittersweet pop, Joni Mitchell and Paul McCartney, and the slow romance of Brazilian tunes like "So Nice." And, yes, Krall also showed she is a jazz performer.
She pulled out the Nat King Cole "Frim Fram Sauce" that she recorded in 1996, and sounded as she did then, that she could be playing in one of the more hipper jazz clubs of 1945. Krall covered her teen-years idol, Fats Waller, and tossed a bit of stride piano in a few tunes.
There were also moments of pure energetic jazz flash. Members of her quartet, the slick and skilled Wilson, solid bassist Robert Hurst and sharp as a tack drummer Karriem Riggins, seemed to relish these moments to shine. A few times they developed that perpetual-motion-machine magic that jazz can take, as solos build on each other.
Best of the jazz was the cover of "Cheek to Cheek." It was speedy and playful, and despite stage lighting that was all shades of Hello Kitty pink, it had a lot of muscle. That evolved into a jazz-rock variation of the Beatles "Come Together."
The audience gave a huge standing ovation at the end. For her encore, Krall brought things back to the theme of the night, with a faithful cover of the epitome of adult contemporary tunes, the one that your parents made-out to in '67, Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love."
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