This Dream of You
I was never that big on Diana Krall albums – they were good, all of them, but I didn’t care which one I heard. I just heard them – in shops where I worked, in preparation for reviewing her shows (saw her twice, very good both times) and when I interviewed her (also a fabulous interviewee). But nothing ever really stuck with me – until in 2012 she released Glad Rag Doll. After that it’s all made sense to me, and I’ve stopped worrying about whether it’s cool or not cool and focussed in on the fact that Krall is super-great actually. A hell of a singer and a wonderful piano player and when she’s doing both she’s so excellent.
I’ve been a fan of the last few albums and This Dream of You – a collection of standards, classic American Songbook stuff (and the title track is a more recent Bob Dylan tune) might have been built from the leftovers, the also-rans, but as a fairweather fan, or late convert, I think this album is sublime.
The late Tommy LiPuma (Krall’s producer from 1995 until his death in 2017) is paid tribute to here. Krall stepping up as her own producer and building this album from their many sessions covering evergreens. And if LiPuma’s actual magic touch is missing, the memory of it is conjured as best as Krall is able.
There are some quietly stunning versions of songs you’ve heard so many times – But Beautiful, Autumn In New York, Almost Like Being In Love – and Krall really does breathe new life into them; ‘breathe’ being the operative word. These smoky, slow-burn, nightcap-nursing versions are little masterclasses in letting the song do the talking. Experienced players working together as brilliant combos just sit back and never get in the way of the tune. We have Krall with drummer Jeff Hamilton, guitarist Anthony Wilson and bassist John Clayton Jr. At other times it’s Dylan’s MD and bass player Tony Garnier with Tom Waits’ MD and guitarist Marc Ribot and hip-hop and nu-jazz beatmaker and producer Karriem Riggins at the kit. Also that other classic Krall trio with Christian McBride (bass) and Russell Malone (guitar). There are a few guests – Alan Broadbent (piano) and Krall’s Uncle, Randall Krall (accordion) among them.
But there is only one star – and it’s Diana Krall. Her singing, her playing – majestic.
I’ve read plenty of reviews calling this album a disappointment. I don’t hear that at all. I hear her at or near her very best. And the songs here are utterly gorgeous, wise selections and perfect versions of them.
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