Drowned in Sound: Diana Krall: From This Moment On

Drowned in Sound
Diana Krall: From This Moment On
by Kodi McKinney, DJ at U92
kodimckinney@gmail.com

Even though they may be losing their luster in recent years, the Grammy Awards still offer the biggest accolades in music. When an artist even gets nominated for a Grammy, people take notice. Diana Krall's latest release, From This Moment On, is up for the Best Jazz Vocal Album award for what will become obvious reasons. To hint at her caliber, a Grammy win in February would not be her first.
It should go without saying that lackluster singers have no place in vocal jazz. Thankfully, Krall is positively breathtaking. Her tone and style are reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, but a little lighter and sultrier. The influence of the First Lady of Soul is obvious on every track; however, Krall maintains enough of her own personality to sound distinctive and never mimic Fitzgerald outright. This uniqueness is the mark of a great singer and proves Krall to be seriously passionate about the material. She also goes easy on the scatting, which too many jazz vocalists have overused. Krall is much more straightforward and prefers to put more effort into interpreting the emotions of the songs.
And boy, does she ever interpret them. On "How Insensitive," Krall sounds so remorseful over her treatment of a jilted lover that you can't help feeling sorry for the both of them. She similarly nails it all through From This Moment On, but especially in "Willow Weep For Me" and Irving Berlin's "Isn't This A Lovely Day?" Pointing out highlights is extremely difficult with this album because there is not a bad performance on it. Her band also is superb, never playing over her and totally in the pocket.
The other really impressive thing about Krall is her fantastic skill on the piano. As a jazz pianist, she is so well-developed and focused that I initially thought someone else had to be working the keys. A great example of this is "I Was Doing All Right," a Gershwin tune that finds her playing an intrinsically perfect piano solo. Krall is one of those rare musicians who drips emotion regardless of her instrument; just listen to the opening chords of "Little Girl Blue" and she will truly have your heart.
Krall is flawless on From This Moment On, plain and simple. One of the few knocks that can be made against this record is the occasionally uninteresting song choices; nevertheless, Krall turns all of it to gold with just a whisper. It would have been nice to hear a few more upbeat songs, as the jumping Cole Porter-penned title track is almost on an island. And although the reliance on standards is sensible, Krall showed talent for writing originals when she co-wrote most of her 2004 release The Girl in the Other Room with husband Elvis Costello. There's a little talent that Krall still has tucked away from this album, but after observing what she does show here, that almost seems impossible.
Rating: 4 out of 5