An Album for the Weekend: Live in Paris, Diana Krall (2002)

If you have romantic, or even just relaxing, plans for the weekend, I have the music side covered for you. (Note: For best results, please be male and above 30, or female and above 22. Otherwise, this advice is lost on you. Unless you’ve resolved to be hipper than your age group, and….yyyyyeah, I knew you were cool with this…)

DianaKrall_ParisThe incomparable Diana Krall (who my wife calls my Big Blonde British Columbia Homegirl) recorded this concert in Paris on what must have been a magical night. It’s hard to say what’s more attractive about Ms. Krall: her swingy-perfect piano style, or the vocal talent that works across an expressive spectrum from rich and deep to funny and chatty. Or is it her downright athletic femininity (how does she look like she could caress and/or beat you up — all in the same minute?). And you know she has broad musical tastes. She married Elvis Costello, fer Pete’s sake.

As a leader and a standout, Ms. Krall meshed nicely with guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist John Clayton, and strings from the Paris Symphony Orchestra on this record, working some serious jump into the opener, “I Love Being Here With You,” then instantly shifting gears for the whimsical (but never dull) “Let’s Fall In Love.” French jazz audiences are said to be knowledgeable and compliant, and that might have helped amplify Ms. Krall’s ability to ease things down for a vocal absolutely aching with desire on “The Look of Love.”

Smoothness appears to be part and parcel of Ms. Krall’s jazz ethic; even the straight-ahead, paced-up numbers never seem too aggressive. “East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)” keeps it light, as does “Devil May Care.” Conversely, ballads never get draggy: witness “Maybe You’ll Be There,” a break-up torch song that gets to our universal nerve on that painful score, and a very creditable rendition of fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.”

Pour some wine, turn this one on, and turn down the lights. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And, um…after 9, don’t call.♦

© 2013 Adam Barr except album art and linked music

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