A fine homage to the Cole Trio by one of the current jazz gr
Mary Whipple | New England | 12/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paying homage to the Nat Cole Trio, the most popular jazz combo of its day, Diana Krall (piano), Russell Malone (guitar), and Paul Keller (bass) bring some long-time favorites and some lesser known Cole Trio hits to life. The arrangements are terrific, ranging from slow, bluesy numbers, to swing, a torchy ballad, and forties-style jive. In every case, the emphasis is on the trio, and though Krall sings on every track, more than half of each song is instrumental, with extended solos on piano by Krall and on guitar by Russell Malone.
Krall's voice is a full, sometimes husky, alto with very little vibrato, and though she can sing scat, and does on "Frim Fram Sauce," she is at her best singing slow songs of aching loss, where, occasionally, her phrasing reminds me of Sarah Vaughan. "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You," sung slower than Cole did it, is a sad, bluesy number with wonderful, casual jazz piano riffs. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," my favorite on the album, is torchy, the imagined tears kept under control as Krall pines for lost love, with the piano ranging into chromatic variations. In "You Call It Madness" and "I'm Through With Love," Krall keeps her voice whispery, singing slowly, almost confidentially, as she maintains the slow beat and melancholy mood. By contrast, "Hit That Jive, Jack," moves in a quick, toe-tapping rhythm, as Krall, Malone, and Keller sing together and have fun.
The album has plenty of variety to the selections and features three fine jazz instrumentalists who toured together and perfected their ensemble for several months before recording this album. With the earthy voice of Krall added to the instrumental mix, this album is certainly one of Krall's best--a huge success. There are no drums here (except on "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"), but that is not a limitation, and, in fact, may be an advantage, since the listener's attention remains focused on the tunefulness of the songs and their jazz variations. This is a fine homage to the Nat Cole Trio, which would have been justly proud of Krall's recording. Mary Whipple"