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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Diana Krall

The Very Best of Diana Krall

Review by Gary Hill

Traditional jazz seems to be a dying art form. That’s why Diana Krall is such an important artist. Not only does she stand in the world as ambassador of the musical genre, but she also creates some of the most well executed performances of the genre around these days. This collection of some of her best music is a great introduction to her sound. The only thing is it seems to suffer from quite a lack of variety. Mind you, that’s probably because the music represents tracks taken from various CD’s. I think it would have benefited from some faster paced music amidst all the slow ballads, but the truth is, no one out there does what Krall does as well as she can. She works within a medium that’s on the endangered species list and we should support her and traditional jazz. So, get this disc, put it on and kick back with a bottle of wine and your significant other.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
'S Wonderful
With a gentle arrangement, the instruments are all held in place with the acoustic guitar backing. The vocals are delivered with a charm and authenticity that really work. This is a great way to start things off.
Peel Me A Grape
This swinging little number has that detached sort of vocal performance that’s popular in a lot of traditional jazz. I’m not overly crazy about that style (although Krall certainly shows she can pull it off), so the tune seems a bit lackluster to me. Still, it has its moments. The piano solo in particular is a great touch.
Pick Yourself Up
This has a dramatic, Broadway jazz sort of introduction, complete with some dissonance. It’s a bouncy sort of fun, light hearted track. While it’s not one of my favorites, I like it better than the one that preceded it. The guitar solo on this one is extremely tasty.
Frim Fram Sauce
A piano based little dittie, this is fun and a gentle groove with a definite New Orleans jazz texture. The piano solo on this one is pretty amazing – and rather odd and dissonant at the same time. We also get some tasty guitar work and bass lines.
You Go To My Head
A neo-classical texture opens this one. It drops from there to a beautiful, slow and emotional piano based torch song. The string arrangement returns at points during this song, giving it a sort of Broadway musical texture that can get a little over the top. I’d have to say that this one seems to stay around a little too long, as well.
Let's Fall In Love
Here we get a bouncy jazz ballad type cut that works better than the last one. I like this one quite a bit. It’s very traditional and entertaining. It’s got a tasty instrumental section, complete with a classic walking bass pattern.
The Look of Love
While this doesn’t start off that differently from some of the other stuff here, it has an almost folk rock feel to it in some ways. It’s one of my favorite cuts on show here. This has a very tasty piano solo in its midst.
East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon)
This has a very tasty jazz groove and is another highlight of the CD. It doesn’t vary a lot from a lot of the rest of the disc, it’s just delivered with a gritty sort of soul that lifts it up from the other music a bit. The bass solo on this is nice, too. This one was recorded in front of live audience, and they react appropriately after that solo. We also get a very tasty extended instrumental section where everyone gets the chance to shine.
I've Got You Under My Skin
Another “torchy” ballad, this is good, but by this point the disc is starting to feel a bit too much like one long song – there’s not enough variety and we really don’t need another track like this.
All or Nothing At All
Starting with a cool rubbery standup bass line, this one is a step up from the last piece. It’s not that the overall approach is all that different, but the delivery here is better than a lot of the rest of the music, giving it some room to stand out. The guitar work here is quite tasty.
Only The Lonely
The symphonic approach is present on this one. It’s one of the mellower pieces on the CD. I have to say this one works better for me than some of the other music.
Let's Face The Music and Dance
Here is another balladic piece that’s a bit too much like some of the other material. While this is a good track it doesn’t really stand out all that well as an individual.
The Heart of Saturday Night
This is just what we needed to bring a bit of a change to the festivities. Bouncy and fun, this guitar based tune reminds me a bit of Rickie Lee Jones – granted with a bit more of a jazz nature.
Little Girl Blue
Starting in the symphonic ways, this has more of a classical feel to it than some of the other music. It’s still basically a jazz ballad, but a cool song. The melody on the intro at times reminds me of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
Fly Me To The Moon
Fun and bouncy, this jazz jam has more energy and works better than much of the music here. I’d have to say that while it works as an effective closer it might have been more useful to break up some of the monotony earlier.
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