UPDATE THIS IS A 2009 REVIEW. OUR OCTOBER 2012 REVIEW IS HERE .
Diana Krall was clearly in a mood to enjoy the first of her three evenings back in London, in what seemed like a near-capacity Royal Albert Hall. For such a huge venue, the atmosphere was surprisingly warm. Krall was, understandably, agreeably taken aback by the whoops of delight from the audience in response to completely inocuous lines such as “I’m from Canada” or “Andy Pandy says ‘time to go home.’ “
The band bounced onto the stage and pounced gleefully on what has become a Krall staple, Peggy Lee’s I Love Being Here with You. Fifth gear, crotchet 280, hold on tight…(the version above is tame by comparison) . Krall played a full part in it, but she was also duty-bound: she needed briefly to pose, to grin, help out the dozen or so queuing photographers to catch the shots they needed of a trademark bare shoulder or a resplendent and swirling blonde mane. But duties over, it was back to making good music with a great trio, and to having fun. She was punching bright accented sounds like a woodblock from the very top notes of the Steinway, closing the number with a muttered calming mantra “Ray Brown Ray Brown.”
Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek had loads to enjoy. A reverie of introductory patter on the themes of Rosemary Clooney, rosaries and vodka (don’t ask!) ; a cleverly sleight-of-hand Fats Wallerish intro; a playful raised semitone repeat phrase bar; the best solo of the evening from Krall, leaning back into it, and just -that word again- enjoying it.
The thirteen numbers contrasted well. There were quotes being slipped in all over the place. References to Isn’t She Lovely fitted neatly into Let’s Fall in Love. The introduction to I don’t know enough about you meandered around childrens’ songs and boogie-woogie. Soft statements of All I want is a Room Somewhere from My Fair Lady inhabited the intro to I’ve grown accustomed to her face.” The most reflective moment came in a delightfully hushed Joni Mitchell A Case of You. Another excursion into pop ballad territory was a beautiful closing number….[UPDATE: a kind LondonJazz reader tells me it’s Departure Bay.]
Krall’s piano playing is mostly light touch, hardly any pedal except in a searching intro to Bacharach’s Walk On By. Regular collaborators Anthony Wilson, Kareem Riggins and Robert Hurst are all top players. Krall delivers as musician, as singer, as entertainer, as celeb. The tickets are not cheap, and at £10 for a programme, none of the sellers had a mob to deal with. It’s the second time I’ve heard Krall this year, and – let’s break the rules, I want use that same word a fourth and last time- I’ve enjoyed both.