Diana Krall ‘Wallflower’ (Verve) 3/5

diana-krallPianist-singer Diana Krall established an international reputation via her delicious covers of the Great American Songbook tradition, yet there is another sides to her that is interested both in composing her own songs and in interpreting more contemporary pop tunes. It is the latter that is the focus of this latest album, and, while the numbers are as tastefully executed as ever, the jazz content has been diluted in the process and Diana Krall is not so much as pop singer, as a jazz singer fully capable of reaching out to an audience beyond the confines of jazz and there is a nuanced difference between the two. Be that as it may, her voice displays true emotion on an intimate interpretation of the soul song, ‘Superstar’ with stirring strings. This compare favourably with the superlative rendition that Luther Vandross gave to the number. An understated and decidedly down tempo ‘California Dreaming’ provides an entertaining alternative reading to the old chestnut and some delightful finger snapping indicates that the jazzer in Krall has not entirely vanished. However, some of the material covered does verge on the MOR such as Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Alone again (naturally)’ and even that gem of a pop original from 10CC, ‘I’m not in love’, sounds plain out-of-place here devoid of any meaningful context. Now fully refreshed from this brief departure, hopefully Diana Krall will return to her more familiar terrain and that more compelling of formulas as part of a piano trio plus guitar.

Tim Stenhouse