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CD Review: Diana Krall - Turn Up the Quiet

Turn Up The Quiet

Diana Krall

Diana Krall – Piano and Vocals

Trio lineup:

Christian McBride – Bass

Russell Maloney – Guitar


John Clayton – Bass

Anthony Wilson – Guitar

Jeff Hamilton – Drums

Quintet lineup:

Marc Robot – Guitar

Tony Garnier – Bass

Stewart Duncan – Fiddle

Karriern Riggins – Drums

Label: Verve

Turn Up The Quiet begins with the trio of Krall on piano, Christian McBride on bass and Russell Malone on guitar. An especially good choice is “Like Someone in Love” (Van Heusen and Burke). Krall’s intimate hushed tones are complemented by McBride’s long piping baseline and playful artistry of Malone’s guitar.

The oft-recorded “Isn’t It Romantic?” (Rogers and Hart) benefits here from some nimble piano riffs from Krall and a counterpoint string section bringing sweeping emotion. Krall uses clever vocal phrasing to keep it all cohesive. The guitarists, Malone, Anthony Wilson and Marc Ribot, are all special.

On Krall’s last few albums she has been slighted and has let the influence of husband Elvis Costello’s eclectic musical tastes influence her own, which hasn’t always been to her benefit. Here, Krall seems to channel and incorporate a bit of veteran pop vocalist Joni Mitchell’s distinctive style into her own. Some critics may not like this, but I think that most of her fans will find it irresistible with just a touch of Mitchell’s charm and delivery tempering Krall’s own acerbic pianism.

“L-0-V-E” (Kaempfert/Gabler) benefits from Krall’s decision to play it with the quartet featuring players Anthony Wilson on guitar, John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. They generate some finger-snapping tempo and Krall some jazzy piano chords to go along with it. Wilson contributes a fluid solo as the combo puts some gentle swing into the arrangement.

While there’s certainly no shortage of fine material to choose from in The Great American Songbook, it’s pretty hard to top Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” This song has seen its share of both dramatic readings and nightclub bravado as it’s been performed in the past, but this tender bossa nova version with luscious strings provide a framework for Krall’s ethereal vocals, and it is a delight.

Krall uses piano riffs—as graceful as they are intricate—to steady the jams on “I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)” (Neiburg/Dougherty/Reynolds). But it’s the articulate fiddle play of Steve Duncan that gives this tune its bluesy and organic sound.

The lively, high-spirited Mills Brothers number “Moonglow” is retooled and slowed down, bringing a fluid elegance to the tune. Krall delivers yet another appealing solo backed up by the intuitive guitar play of Marc Ribot.

Emerging from its low-key opening and graduating to full-on small ensemble-style swing, “Blue Skies” (Berlin) gives the trio of Krall, Malone and McBride their showcase moment. The moody background is effective and pervasive. Despite a superb string arrangement by Alan Broadbent, the flow and tempo of “Sway” seems a little too slow, restrictive, and in the end slightly disappointing. If you ever get the chance to hear him, Chicago vocalist Paul Marinaro does a great version of this tune.

Highlighted by a sparkling piano solo, Krall emphasizes her jazzy voice inflections and rebounds with an artistic vengeance on “No Moon at All.” Later, Broadbent’s heavily textured string arrangement of “Dream” creates an audio effect, equivalent to shooting a photo or movie through gauze to soften the image.

The final song “I’ll See You In My Dreams” (Jones/Kahn) is done as a snappy, Django-esque swing tune with punctuated rhythms, fiddle and Krall providing a touch of funk on the keyboard.

The audio quality on Turn Up The Quiet is as excellent as you might expect from a Krall-LiPuma collaboration. It’s a masterfully executed jazz album and a much hoped-for return to form for Krall. She makes a strong commitment to the overall concept and strikes the requisite balance of musicianship and artistic vision. The strings blend with the instrumentals and Krall’s distinctive voice.

Her fans can rejoice—Diana Krall is back!

About Randy Freedman

Chicago freelance writer Randy Freedman is a jazz connoisseur, photographer,

food critic, humorist and devoted music fan. He is a regular contributor to Chicago Jazz Magazine.

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