CD Review: Diana Krall - 'Quiet Nights,' 'Live in Rio'

Brazilian bossa nova heavily influences Diana Krall's new CD and DVD.
Brazilian bossa nova heavily influences Diana Krall's new CD and DVD. (By Robert Maxwell)
Friday, June 12, 2009


"Quiet Nights" and "Live in Rio"

Kindred spirits: Shirley Horn, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Claudia Acuña

Shows: Tuesday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. 410-783-8000. Wednesday at Wolf Trap. Show starts at 8 p.m. 703-255-1900.

A Canadian singing a Lerner and Loewe song based on a George Bernard Shaw play wouldn't suggest Brazilian music to most people. But Diana Krall gives "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face" a bossa-nova slant and turns it into a highlight of both her studio CD, "Quiet Nights," and her concert DVD, "Live in Rio." Given the elasticity of a Brazilian rhythm, this ballad from "My Fair Lady" grows slow and whispery, allowing the British Columbia vocalist to explore the no man's land between temptation and resistance.

The gentle syncopation in the album and DVD merely allows the modest-voiced Krall to do what she does best: massage and caress her breathy vowels to suggest both swooning desire and better judgment. She gives desire the full sensuality it deserves, but she saves herself from schmaltz by giving her conscience a grudging reluctance.

The studio CD is more consistent, while the DVD veers between train wrecks such as "The Boy From Ipanema" and "You're My Thrill" to emotionally charged triumphs including "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face" and "Every Time We Say Goodbye." The DVD also includes interviews with Krall and her quartet as well as Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek," a song she'd never recorded before.

-- Geoffrey Himes

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