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Quick Spin: 'Quiet Nights' by Diana Krall

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Diana Krall

Warm and sensuous? Torchy and blue? You bet. But Diana Krall's 12th CD is a bit sleepy at times, too.

"Quiet Nights" finds the Grammy-winning vocalist and pianist collaborating with two pop legends -- producer Tommy LiPuma and arranger Claus Ogerman -- on a recording devoted to bossa nova grooves and hushed, Julie London-inspired balladry. Listening to it, you get the feeling that bliss is right around the corner for plenty of fans of romantic pop and Brazilian pulses.

There's no shortage of familiar tunes -- some overly familiar. Antonio Carlos Jobim is represented by three performances, including the album's title track, a.k.a. "Corcovado," which boasts a typically lush and melancholic Ogerman orchestration. Classic pop standards by Rodgers and Hart ("Where or When"), Lerner and Lowe ("I've Grown Accustomed to His Face") and Johnny Mercer ("Too Marvelous for Words") are interspersed with a pair of similarly arranged Top-40 hits, "Walk On By" and the bonus track, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart."

Indeed, Krall has never sounded so intent on creating a series of moody vignettes, her voice seldom rising above a whisper. Slow, occasionally creeping tempos don't allow for the kind of small combo interplay that has enlivened some of her previous recordings. Yet she and her band mates -- guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa -- nonetheless have their moments, deftly punctuating the arrangements when the strings and woodwinds fade on "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face" and during a haunting interpretation of "You're My Thrill."

Diana Krall performs at Wolf Trap on June 17.

-- Mike Joyce

DOWNLOAD THESE: "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face," "You're My Thrill," "Quiet Nights"

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