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Diana Krall: The Look of Love

More than any version I have heard since the Frank Sinatra recordings of 1942 and 1947, Krall’s treatment of “The Night We Called It a Day” embodies the essence of the Tom Adair-Matt Dennis song. Claus Ogerman’s writing for the London Symphony Orchestra enhances the sense of loss Krall brings to this demanding ballad, but no more than do her piano accompaniment and the support of Russell Malone, Christian McBride and Peter Erskine on guitar, bass and drums. The maturity of her lyric interpretation is apparent everywhere in the song, devastatingly so in the ache she imparts to the crucial line, “…but the sun didn’t rise with the dawn.” She displays the musicianship undergirding her vocals in a piano solo that builds from a carefully considered single-note line into rich chords and an allusion to Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance,” which was first recorded the year after she was born. The woman is a listener.

The 10 pieces in the album are classics from the era when great songs made the hit parade; when, for that matter, there was a hit parade. “Love Letters,” as slow as Shirley Horn might do it, is notable for Krall’s diction and her concentration on the meaning of the words. It has another good piano solo and a gorgeous Ogerman coda for strings. In “Cry Me a River,” she’s as sultry as Julie London, and she puts irony into the lyrics. “Now,” she sings, “you say you love me.” Except that “‘S Wonderful” is in E flat rather than F, Krall does the song as Joao Gilberto sang it on his 1977 Amoroso album, one of Ogerman’s last nonclassical projects until this one. Her approach follows Gilberto’s right down to a rise to the 6th rather than the written fall to the tonic at the end of the first eight bars, and his scrunched phrasing going into the last eight. Dori Caymmi’s guitar brings a nice touch to this bossa nova.

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