January 1998

Diane Krall - Love Scenes
IMPSD 234/Impulse
Released: 1997

by Bruce Bassett

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

[Reviewed on CD]Last night while enjoying a candlelit dinner with my wife, Diana Krall caroled softly in the background. Love Scenes is a collection of slow-to-medium-tempo jazz tunes that are very apropos to a quiet romantic encounter and are best savored, much like fine wine, in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

During dinner I asked Kate what she liked about the music. She replied that Diana Krall made singing sound "easy" and "effortless." With this I could not agree more. It is as if the words were inside of her just waiting for her lips to part so they may sensuously make their escape. Like the consummate jazz singer she is, Krall adds her own improvisational interpretations to other people's music, adding drama and style to the lyrics through well-placed pauses, tonal inflection and careful enunciation.

A pleasant surprise for me on this disc was the superb musicianship of Christian McBride on bass. Through many of the tunes his playing is the thread that ties the total fabric of the music together. I do not, however, wish to diminish the contributions of Russell Malone on guitar. Mr. Malone gets a classic, fully rounded, slightly underwater tonal quality from, what looks to be in the enclosed pictures, a Gibson Chet Atkins Series guitar. He plays predominantly a supporting role, but nonetheless his outputs cannot go unnoticed.

There are no drums present, and I will admit that I did miss what the ta-tssshh of hi-hats and good brushwork can add to jazz. There were also a few moments when I was desperately longing for Diana Krall to unleash the full power of her voice, but no matter how much I knelt and begged at my speakers it was not to happen.

Diana Krall has put together another strong effort and no doubt her popularity is going to continue to rise exponentially. What's next for Diana? She has unquestionably proven that she can add her special touch to existing jazz tunes, so maybe something completely original is in order next time around???