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Diana Krall: From This Moment On

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What is the principal lesson to be learned from Diana Krall’s latest? Don’t judge a Krall album by its track listing. Following as it does close on the heels of Krall’s 2004 foray in bold directions with the deeply, sometimes darkly introspective The Girl In the Other Room, this collection of standards, none less than four decades old, could easily be misinterpreted as a retreat to the safety and comfort of the Great American Songbook. Not so. Dismissing From This Moment On as mere reversion to the territory Krall mined in her mega-selling The Look of Love is like suggesting that Sinatra’s career-resuscitating Songs for Young Lovers and his cocksure Swing Along with Me of a half-decade later are interchangeable because both are built around classic Tin Pan Alley tunes. While Moment’s personnel is familiar-exemplary as always accompaniment from bassist John Clayton, guitarist Anthony Wilson and drummer Jeff Hamilton (expanded to the superbly muscular Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra on select tracks), with Tommy LiPuma and Krall sharing producer duties-the ambiance is entirely fresh and exhilarating. Krall has always sounded impressively rich and unfailingly polished. Never before, though, have her vocals or her playing evoked such profound contentment and easy self-assurance. Nor has any previous Krall standards set displayed such tremendous stylistic breadth. From the flirty playfulness of “Come Dance with Me” and big-band bounce of “Day In, Day Out” to the heartbreaking reflection of “How Insensitive” and searing pain of “Willow Weep for Me,” Moment is consistently magnificent in its diversity. Each of the 11 tracks is a gem, though none quite as priceless as the title track, shot through with film-noir intensity that echoes husband Elvis Costello’s brilliantly sinister “That’s How You Got Killed Before” on his recent concert disc, My Flame Burns Blue. When Krall suggests, as she has in recent interviews, that the album’s title is prophetic, she’s entirely correct. Here, everything old is new again as she moves steadily forward with no backward glances.