Saturday, November 19, 2005

Diana Krall - The Girl In The Other Room (2004)

Diana Krall always has a fine singing voice and a great band. She also plays very cool jazz piano. Her readings of jazz standards from The Great American Songbook and covers of more modern fare are always top drawer. In short, I like her.

On her current release, The Girl In The Other Room Krall shows her usual good taste in covers including a Mose Allison original, the slow and bluesy "Stop This World." She also is great covering Tom Waits' "Temptation." She even does a nice take on Joni Mitchell's "Black Crow." The highlight of the CD is the Chris Smither/Bonnie Raitt classic "Love Me Like A Man." I could listen to Krall sing material like this all day long.

For the first time Krall has recorded her own songs. She has co-written six new works with her famous husband, Elvis Costello, and here is where the CD falls to the ground. Most of the Krall/Costello songs have no melody and no beat, two ingredients that are always essential in good jazz and have never been a part of Costello's songwriting. I don't know who wrote what here but I'm going to blame this problem on Costello because he is a master at writing songs no one can sing or hum. I don't have a problem with cerebral or inward looking lyrics. The singer/songwriter genre is full of them but the works of Costello seem out of place on a jazz album, a place where listeners are looking for vocal and instrumental virtuosity. Since four of these songs come all in a row at the end of the disc I find my mind wandering out of boredom, craving for something else to listen to.

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