224

Diana Krall: The Look of Love

Mathew Bahl By

Sign in to view read count
Diana Krall: The Look of Love If you took the time to catch Diana Krall on the road in recent months, you would have seen a talented mainstream jazz pianist fascinated by the possibilities of making music. You would have heard an interpretative singer fully capable of holding a large audience spellbound. And leaving the concert, you would not have suspected that the jazz artist on the stage would be almost entirely absent from her own next record.

The problem with The Look of Love, Diana Krall’s latest CD, rests not in the concept, a collection of standard ballads done in a bossa nova style, but in the execution. Ms. Krall has said recently that for this project she put her complete trust in arranger Claus Ogerman. That appears to have been a mistake. Mr. Ogerman is not an arranger of the caliber of Johnny Mandel, who helmed Ms. Krall’s Grammy-winning When I Look In Your Eyes. Mr. Ogerman seems to have written his charts, a couple of which sound recycled from Amoroso, his collaboration with Joao Gilberto, without ever having listened to Diana Krall. As a jazz singer, Ms. Krall comes out of Carmen McRae and Shirley Horn. Silence, space and shifting dynamics are essential components of her interpretive approach. Her most powerful ballad performances have always involved minimal or discreet accompaniment. However, throughout The Look of Love, whenever Ms. Krall so much as pauses to take a breath, Mr. Ogerman’s strings come swelling up and crashing down like a tidal wave wiping out expensive oceanfront property. He drowns an otherwise gutsy performance of “I Get Along Without You Very Well” in a pool of unredeemable schmaltz.

If all of Ms. Krall’s vocals were on the same level as her performance of that Hoagy Carmichael tune, then The Look of Love would be a much better record. Sadly, her phrasing, filled with oddly shaped lines and stagy whispers, too often sounds artificial. She completely fumbles “A Night We Called It a Day” and “Dancing in the Dark,” two tunes that are perfectly suited to her emotionally reticent persona. Even when she dispenses with the mannerisms, as on “Cry Me a River,” she still holds back turning in performances that are tepid and overly polite. The title cut is enhanced enormously by a generous helping of Ms. Krall’s piano, which is otherwise a muted presence.

It is only on the final track, “Maybe You’ll Be There,” that Ms. Krall finally delivers the goods. She transforms the song’s lyric into a deeply personal confession filled with painful regret and foolish hope. While it is still too little and too late to justify what has come before, it is just enough to suggest what could, and should, have been.


Title: The Look Of Love | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Diana Wayburn


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Here on Earth" CD/LP/Track Review Here on Earth
by Doug Collette
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Free World Music" CD/LP/Track Review Free World Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Speechless" CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "The Big Wig" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Blues Revival" CD/LP/Track Review Blues Revival
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.