Diana Krall ‘Quiet Nights’ (Verve) 3/5

diana-krallPart recorded in Rio de Janeiro and part in California, this Tommy Lipuma produced album is Diana Krall’s take on the bossa nova. It has to be stated that this is more a revisiting of the American songbook with a few Brazilian touches than a bona fide attempt at capturing the feel of bossa nova. The collaboration of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Frank Sinatra was most successful in conveying the cool, swinging new sound at the time and more recently pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias has covered a wider range of styles. Where Krall falls down is in the predominance of rather uninspiring somber and understated numbers when some uplifting sambas might have given the album a more balanced feel. Only one song is in Portuguese, the Jobim song, Este seu olhar’, one of three Jobim compositions. The symphonic arrangements courtesy of Claus Ogerman can overpower Krall’s breathy vocals as on ‘Quiet nights’. In fact Krall shines best of all on the blues-inflected ‘How can you mend a broken heart?’ and an entire album of songs in this vein might be a better option for the future. It is only on ‘The boy from Ipanema’ that Krall begins to stretch out on the piano. Back to the drawing board for any future take on Brazilian music and a far greater input is required from Brazilian musicians.

Tim Stenhouse