Release Date: 04.27.04
Record label: Verve
Genre(s): Classical, Jazz
She's Coming Through
by: bill aicher
Longtime fans of Diana Krall may, at first, be a bit taken aback by the latest from this talented and highly regarded jazz pianist & singer, as The Girl in the Other Room finds Krall doing what she's never done before: perform her own work. In her past, Krall has made a name for herself through her stunning renditions of previously written material, pulling most of her work from the standards of Cole Porter, Nat King Cole, Rodgers & Hart and others of similar classic ilk. Such a stray from well-accepted jazz material and the subsequently "safe" home she's found amongst more elitist jazz fans (those who continue to shrug Norah Jones off as nothing more than a pop artist) could be viewed as a departure from jazz itself, by some. But again, this is a merely reactionary response.
Upon a listen to Krall's work here, it's become quite evident that the years of studying the standards has given her quite an understanding of just what it takes to not only interpret what isn't generally considered jazz fare as jazz fare, but also to sculpt a variety of original pieces worthy of display amongst the very best of the standards. Interpretations of pieces varying from Tom Waits' "Temptation" (The Girl in the Other Room's first single), Joni Mitchell's "Black Crow" and husband Elvis Costello's own "Almost Blue" manage to maintain the concepts of the originals they are based on. Yet, Krall's vocal delivery and piano work (as well as stunning work from her backing band) also evolve these pieces far beyond their original recordings ever let on.
Covers aside, where Krall's true brilliance comes through on The Girl ... is in her originals, penned as collabarations with husband, Costello. Given Costello's recent foray into contemporary jazz with his own North album and Krall's thorough understanding of jazz sound and theory, songs such as "Narrow Daylight" and "I've Changed My Address" come across as Krall at her most comfortable. "I've Changed My Address" contains some of Krall's most stunning piano work (check out that solo about halfway through), coming across as completely natural but completely breathtaking.
In today's somewhat strange musical climate where tastes are expanding much farther than any other recent time (who'd have thought a country/jazz album from Norah Jones could compete with the latest from Hoobastank!), Krall has chosen the perfect time to completely spread her wings. And, with The Girl in the Other Room she's proven beyond a doubt that there's much more to her than an excellent voice and superb interpretational skills. No one's ever doubted her as an artist, but now it's all the more obvious that Krall is an artist with quite a bit to say - ever so eloquently. 09-Jun-2004 10:20 PM