When Diana Krall deviated from her usual interpretative approach to golden-era love songs for 2004's largely self-penned Girl in the Other Room, she proved songwriting wasn't one of her greater strengths. But few contemporary jazz vocalists can infuse love songs with such warmth, and for From This Moment On, Krall returns to her usual source material. There is one slight modification: the accompaniment of the outstanding Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra, a format she first experimented with on 1998's When I Look in Your Eyes. Krall is comfortable working in front an orchestra it never overpowers her. The title cut is a misfit; the orchestra seems to be running too fast, and she's struggling to keep up. But one bad song on an otherwise nearly flawless album is nothing to fret over. When Krall purrs on the ballads "Little Girl Blue" and "Willow Weep for Me," her voice is so cozy and relaxing that it makes you want to curl up in her lap. And while she's rarely given props for being an excellent pianist, her touch is as delicate as her voice, and the melody lines she plays on the ballads are as deft as a surgeon's hands.
Krall hit the national spotlight in 1993 with her debut Stepping Out. She's released more than 10 albums since, sold millions of copies, won a Grammy and married Elvis Costello. Not a shabby list of accomplishments, but as her return to the American Songbook on this record proves, it's a comfortable niche that serves her best.
Charles L. Latimer writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].