Diana Krall is an attractive lady with a good voice who plays decent piano, but this somewhat ridiculously packaged Verve CD seems like an obvious attempt to turn her into a pop icon and sex symbol to boot. The bland arrangements by Claus Ogerman (who conducts the London Symphony Orchestra on each track) border on easy listening, while Krall and her various supporting musicians – including John Pisano, Russell Malone, Christian McBride, and Peter Erskine (among others) – clearly seem stifled by their respective roles. There are plenty of strong compositions here, including standards like "I Remember You," "The Night We Called It a Day," and "I Get Along Without You Very Well," but the unimaginative and often syrupy charts take their toll on the performances.
Diana Krall reunited with Tommy LiPuma, the producer who worked with her for the first decade-and-a-half of her career, for Turn Up The Quiet, a 2017 album that found the pianist returning to the Great American Songbook interpretations that made her name. LiPuma died just before the release of Turn Up the Quiet, prompting Krall to fashion a quasi-tribute to her collaborator from the album's leftovers. The ensuing This Dream of You is hushed and reserved, a leisurely stroll through quite familiar standards augmented by a version of Bob Dylan's "This Dream of You," a deep cut from his 2009 album Together Through Life.
Diana Krall paid tribute to her father on Glad Rag Doll, the 2012 album sourced from his collection of 78-rpm records, and, in a sense, its 2015 successor Wallflower is a companion record of sorts, finding the singer revisiting songs from her childhood. Like many kids of the 20th century, she grew up listening to the radio, which meant she was weaned on the soft rock superhits of the '70s – songs that earned sniffy condescension at the time but nevertheless have turned into modern standards due to their continual presence in pop culture (and arguably were treated that way at the time, seeing cover after cover by middlebrow pop singers).
Bossa nova is not unfamiliar to Diana Krall, but 2009's Quiet Nights is her first record devoted to the gently swaying rhythm. Teaming up again with arranger Claus Ogerman, who last worked with Krall on 2001's The Look of Love and who also frequently collaborated with bossa nova godfather Antonio Carlos Jobim, Krall winds up with a mellow, lazy album that recalls the relaxed late-night sophistication of Jobim's duet album with Frank Sinatra, which Ogerman also happened to arrange and conduct. It's not just the sound, it's the songs: how '60s standards like Bacharach/David's "Walk on By" sit next to three Jobim tunes, a song by Marcos Valle ("So Nice"), and a few American Songbook standards placed at the beginning, the better to ease listeners into purer bossa nova at the end.
The Very Best of Diana Krall collects a nice cross-section of tracks the pianist/vocalist recorded beginning with her 1996 breakthrough album, All for You, and moving through to her 2006 effort From This Moment On. These are largely urbane and stylish recordings that range from her intimate and swinging trio work with guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Christian McBride to her lush orchestral and big-band numbers. While this is primarily a compilation for fans of the sophisticated, jazz standards-oriented Krall, Verve does earn some kudos for including at least one cut from her deeply personal and subsequently not as popular effort The Girl in the Other Room. Also featured are cuts from her stellar 2002 concert album Live in Paris. If you're a fan of straight-ahead jazz with a heavy dash of romance and haven't checked out Krall's work, The Very Best is superb place to start.
Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Hit That Jive Jack." Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber "I'm Through With Love" and "If I Had You." Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of "Hit That Jive Jack," although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall's vocal on "If I Had You," and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.