Elvis Costello loves Diana Krall. He also loves the same music as Diana Krall, which explains why Costello’s new CD, North (Deutsche Grammophon), is heavy on the torchy piano ballads.
The man who came up with punk rock is now “one of the world’s premier adult music artists,” as Universal’s Web site unapologetically states. North features Costello’s usual pianist, Steve Nieve from the Attractions, as well as jazzers Peter Erskine on drums and Mike Formanek on double bass. In addition to writing the album entirely on piano (of which, Costello admits, he’s not the best player), the majority of North is sung in the former ranter’s baritone register (with plenty of vibrato, natch). The music, also arranged and conducted by Costello, sometimes features a 48-piece ensemble, composed of a rhythm section, horn nonet and 28 string players.