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Article: Concert DIANA KRALL and the L.A. Philharmonic - 28.08.2015 (www.ocregister.com)

Diana Krall subdued yet spot-on at the Bowl

Aug. 30, 2015 Updated Aug. 31, 2015 3:05 p.m.


Diana Krall and the L.A. Philharmonic (conducted by Chris Walton)

With: Gregory Porter

When: Aug. 28

Where: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

Day In Day Out / Do It Again / Let's Fall in Love / Quiet Nights / From This Moment On / Love Letters / East of the Sun / Wallflower / Temptation / California Dreamin' / Superstar / Don't Dream It's Over / A Case of You / Isn't It a Lovely Day

Encore: I'll String Along

One of the joys of listening to Diana Krall is tuning in to the sly limberness of her voice. Her throaty alto is filled with a sense of fun; you can almost hear the twinkle in her eye, her knowing half-smile. She’s always present to the emotions of the moment.

But “Wallflower" (Verve), released earlier this year, tamps down those qualities. Following the T-Bone Burnett-produced “Glad Rag Doll,” which took full advantage of Krall’s musical and emotional intelligence, “Wallflower's’” subdued, string-laden sound, by platinum-selling and multi-Grammy-Award-winning producer David Foster, takes almost every song at a stately tempo, giving Krall plenty of space to explore the emotional crevices of well-known songs such as “California Dreamin’” and “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” while narrowing the emotional range.

Things were brighter at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night (the first of two weekend shows). With the L.A. Philharmonic, crisply conducted by Chris Walden, the 90-minute program mixed tunes from the Gershwins (a smoldering “Do It Again”), Harold Arlen (the sprightly “Let’s Fall in Love”) and Irving Berlin with contemporary songs by Bob Dylan (the new album’s title track, performed with a string quartet and sounding like an 19th-century parlor song) and Joni Mitchell (a subtle, rueful take on “A Case of You” accompanied only by her piano).

The most satisfying music of the evening came when the orchestra sat out. For those songs, Krall and her five-piece band perked up noticeably, playing with a greater freedom that gave her longtime rhythm section of bassist Dennis Crouch and Karriem Riggins on drums a chance to really swing. Tom Waits’ “Temptation” was their showcase, a funky groove driven by Krall’s piano and featuring searing solos from guitarist Anthony Wilson and fiddle player Stuart Duncan.

But even at the show’s most upbeat moments, Krall seemed a little overly languorous, the still-warm evening turning her slightly wilted. Perhaps it was returning to the Bowl (Krall was visibly emotional, tearing up when recounting her first time on its stage), or maybe she was under the weather (her voice was even smokier than usual). But that didn’t keep her from presenting a deep, finely shaded performance.

Opening act Gregory Porter also impressed. The Grammy-winning jazz singer was backed by his limber quartet and managed to turn the massive amphitheater into an intimate club. A crooner with a soulful fringe, his aching low tenor rides lightly over the bass, bringing a tender generosity to “Wolfcry,” a pleading fervor to “Water Under Bridges” and the spiritual “Wade in the Water,” and a baleful ache to “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly identified Krall's most recent album and misspelled the name of conductor Chris Walden.

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