on January 13, 2003
I do think that Diana Krall is a talented musician. She has good taste in her musical selections. However, she is NOT a very good singer. Her voice is weak. Her diction is poor, and her phrasing is often sloppy and unimaginative.
I would consider the following women great singers: Lena Horne, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, Julie Andrews, and Barbra Streisand. These are artists whose voices are multi-octave. These gifted performers have the ability to exhibit power or subtlety consistently and appropriately. Their technical skills are immaculate (with the exception of Judy Garland in her later years when her substance abuse caused her to slur her words). These magnificent singers bring exceptional clarity, sophistication and originality to their interpretations of classic American pop songs. They can infuse the music with profound emotion.
Diana Krall's vocals are superficial and pedestrian in comparison. The quality of her voice is tenuous and inconsistent.
on February 22, 2002
After "When I Look In Your Eyes", expectations for a follow up ran extremeley high. With its sultry bossa nova rythms, cool down-beat jazz sensibilities (the sort that would fit as easily into a James Bond film as it would fit at Carnegie Hall), "When I Look.." stands as a masterpiece of contemporary music.
So, when I learned that Diana Krall would be releasing her follow up CD in Singapore (with an invitation-only party at the famous Raffles Hotel on September 10, 2001), that only heightened the anticipation. While Singaporeans do not consider themselves "exotic", Singapore is rich with history -- ocean piracy, wars and conquest, commerce and trade, and [most recently] information & bio technology, to cite a few highlights. So in terms of melodrama, there was an aura of exotia surrounding this release. The song list on "Look Of Love" also promised a lot, and the release party concert performance was excellent (Singapore's main TV station was kind enough to broadcast it a month later).
But the "Look Of Love" CD itself is a dud.
The jazz is buried under languid over orchestration that makes cool jazz sound like bad classical music. THis isn't "torch singing", it tortured (or perhaps tortuous) singing.
While many songs start out with 20-30 seconds of strings, it often seems like several minutes. "S'Wonderful" and "Cry Me a River" start out promising (no strings), but are quickly demolished by the over-orchestration.
So, it is with some regret that I have to recommend that fans of jazz skip this CD and wait for future releases. Diana Krall needs to find a producer who understands what makes great jazz, and fire this one -- who thinks jazz needs to be murdered with mushy string overlays in order to make it "commercial". I'm not sure how much control Diana Krall has over her releases, but the mushy overlays of sweetening tracks is done so badly that I found myself questioning the technical, in addition to the aesthetic, competency of the producers & engineers.
THere is reason for optimism here. The song selection is strong, and underneath the layers and layers of sweetening tracks and all the faux-classical mush laid on top, the core jazz band still sounds solid. And then of course, there are Diana Krall's vocals, good as ever.
If this CD is "the Look of Love", then it's clear Love can be painful.
on January 9, 2002
Diana Krall is a very talented artist, but "The Look of Love" is nothing new. This album shows no new design on the jazz world.
Krall is a big name due to her packaging. Her very good looks with the talent of an amazing voice which in my book is in the same league as Shuur, Horne or any of the other women jazz afficianados.
Kralls beauty is her beast. Though she is more commercially successful than her predecessors, she shows no soul in her music like Diane Shuur or Shirley Horne. Diana Krall is like Cindy Crawford in a way, she is there to put on a dress (jazz music) and make it look pretty.
Though a good album there is no new material or sound here that I haven't heard before. Diana Krall is all dressing and no depth.
She is the Britney Spears of the jazz world showing with her good looks and good voice that with mundane jazz music and proper packaging she can be a superstar....shame.
With the wonderful talents of Diane Shuur, Martha Wash, Jill Scott, and other female artists that don't get as much attention it is a pity we have to go as far as good artificial looks and pristine packaging to finally get this countrys attention on good music. i.e. Josh Groban who I think will be a opera superstar- but only with his youth and good looks will get the teen set to finally appreciate good opera music.
Shame that this country is so shallow. For Krall "The Look of Love" is basically "The Look of the Same Old Thing".
Nothing new, with a pretty face, a good voice trying to make some extra bucks for a record corporation.
on December 30, 2001
After the immensely enjoyable "When I Look in Your Eyes" CD, I had high hopes and expectations for this highly-anticipated follow-up. Krall owes a lot to her "When I Look..." CD, which converted more fans to jazz and Krall than any of her previous ones. Imagine my surprise when I plopped "Look of Love" into my player. Has Diana or her producers been listening to Lawrence Welk??!! This CD lacks originality, purpose, or inspiration. It seems the record company was trying to cash in on one of their biggest cash cows!! I always thought Krall was one to play a bit too safe, but not THIS safe!! She should also fire her publicist for making her pose in that hooker outfit on the CD cover---what an atrocious picture!! I'm sorry to be getting down on Krall, but I'm sure as a fan, there are others like me who are very disappointed with this CD. What about her piano-playing, they don't even get one song to show off here---it's all muzak strings thru and thru.
Please, Diana, next time go back to your roots and come up with something more original----and please, put SOMETHING over that dress!!
on December 25, 2001
Diana Krall may be a hot item these days, but the true jazz aficionado should ask the question, "What is she doing that others before her haven't already done?"
The answer is, nothing.
Shirley Horne, Diane Schuur, Carol Welsman, and other female singers who also play piano are better choices than Krall. What's the difference? Krall has the advantage of being packaged and marketed better than the aforementioned artists. Her latest effort, "The Look of Love," exemplifies the typical commercial schlock that fill up today's CD store shelves. Commercially successful, artistically shallow.
"'S Wonderful" and "Besame Mucho" are a poor imitation of the version of those same songs by the great Brazilian guitarist-vocalist, João Gilberto, on his album "Amoroso." Krall's singing of the Spanish lyrics on this Consuelo Velasquez classic is unintelligible. Listen to Gilberto's version instead and you'll know what I mean.
If you like lounge music, this album is probably a good choice. But if you are a real jazz fan, don't be caught dead with this album in your hands.
on December 11, 2001
With a voice as smooth and inoffensive as white bread soaked in skim milk and a piano style that rarely strays outside the cocktail lounge, Diana Krall has herself locked into a formidable market niche. But you can't really mistake this for jazz.
She can continue to make albums like this as long as her voice holds out, and with as little effort as she expends on singing, that should be about for the next 40 years or so. She sings everything in the same formless, murky alto, creating the comforting sameness that executives need after a hard day at work firing people and cutting budgets so they can afford their salaries.
This is a cruel and evil recording, slick, faceless, manipulative to the Nth degree, perfectly tailored "jazz" for people who know nothing about, and in truth probably would hate, real jazz.
I have heard far too many people compare Ms. Krall with other great artists, but the one person she most deserves comparison with is Perry Como. But even that facelessly bland crooner pales in comparison with Ms. Krall's emptiness. She is almost Zen in her absence of personality or style, but Zen is never quite as terrifying. There's something of the android about her that chills the soul.
As a marketing gimmick, as smooth muzak for the "adult pop" market, this succeeds, but you have to wonder how evil people have to be to create something like this and pass it off as "jazz."
on October 21, 2001
So somebody in sales & marketing had a brilliant idea at the last biz-brainstorm: "Hey, gang, I wonder what would happen if we dunk Diana Krall in a vat of Revlon,get a couple of African honeybees to sting her lips, strategically place her meemies in the center of her next CD cover, and tart her up in a negligee from Frederick's of Hollywood?"
The answer: you'll generate a whole lot of "out-of-thin-air" buzz and suddenly inexplicable unit-shifting sales by an artist who, in the pantheon of modern stylists, is rather on the middling side. Since somebody decided to send her to Glamor Shots, the whole record-buying public is instantly enamored of Diana Krall. It's "Oh yeah...Diana Krall is hot. She's SO in and SO de rigeur," or "Did you buy the new Diana Krall? No?!? Don't you have any taste?"
HELLO! This CD is a far more fabulous tribute to savvy marketing prowess (and the shallow tendency of Americans to gravitate toward anything with a well-photographed set of ta-tas) than a tribute to the talent of an outstanding artist who deserves to be heard by millions. Krall can sing, but her rendering of songs like "Love Letters" et al. brings absolutely nothing new or unique or superior in terms of delivery or interpretation. As sturdy and as BLAND as a bowl of white rice. The arrangements are not even that extraordinary. A very ordinary album...and it's kind of a sad statement about our general American taste in music that "ordinary" can so mesmerize us--as long as glossy lipstick, and nicely-done hair are part of the packaging. Kudos to the photographer and marketing grunts on this record. Diana, take the money from this trumped-up hype of a record and buy yourself some INNER sparkle. Kiss Kiss.
on October 18, 2001
Reading all the print hoopla about Diana Krall makes me wonder if I missed something as I listened to her new CD, "The Look of Love." Maybe that sounds harsh, but I'm sorry to say I don't see what the big deal is. Sure, these are all great jazz standards, "torch songs" I guess they call them, but there is nothing spectacular or terribly original about her renditions. Nor can I say anything spectacular or original about her band. The arrangements are nice, but applied to music, "nice" is a lukewarm term at best.
This CD is my first exposure to Krall's music and I'm quite unimpressed. The girl has absolutely no range in her voice; is this a trend after too many years of Anita Baker and other singers who are up one scale and down the next? Krall's voice is sufficient, but there's nothing there that would make me tell anyone "you have GOT to hear this singer!"
Don't pay full price for this CD. I wish I hadn't. Perhaps she generates more excitement during a live performance, but I'd say if you're looking to drop a few dollars on a female jazz vocalist, go for Ella. Or even Annie Lennox, for that matter.
on October 17, 2001
First off, I am a huge Diana fan, she has breathed new life into jazz singing and piano.
That said, what the heck happened? On other discs, there may be a few songs I don't love, but I enjoy them as part of the disc. There is always one that sticks out like Frim Fram Sauce or Peel Me A Grape. One song that shows off Diana's talent and spunk.
My biggest problem with this album is that that song does not exist. I listened to it closely three times trying to find something I liked but came up empty handed. I thought that an album of slow songs would be good, but it isn't. Or at least not these songs. Linda Ronstadt's version of Round Midnight is slow, but it's a real tearjerker, you can feel the pain being sung and the arrangement is spectacular, which makes it beautiful. That is good slow. Diana, I don't mean to criticize, but what happened?
The CD has a wonderful look to it, the best yet, but it is as good as this album gets. I still look forward to her next album. I hope she doesn't fall into the same pattern of most artists, getting worse with age. Let's hear some spunkiness!
on October 14, 2001
Diana Krall sleepwalks through this CD in a bland, elevator music style. It's a shame. I like her voice. I think she has talent. But her tempos over the years get slower and slower, she takes fewer and fewer chances and invests no personality, no emotion, no soul, to the point where the music is bland, background music. It's a waste of a lot of talent but the sad truth seems to be that Krall likes taking the easy way out. God forbid she should reach for a high note or create a crescendo, or show some passion. I didn't think it was possible to fall asleep during an intense song like Besame Mucho, but....
Let's stop calling Krall a jazz singer, which is really a bad joke. She'd go better with Lawrence Welk at this point. But let's be clear, too: the lack of "jazz" is not the problem. She was always a "light" jazz artist at best. But this album is simply horrendous. She doesn't even seem interested. She doesn't even sing half the time--it's almost as if she just breathes the words in dirge like tempos, as if suddenly shaken awake and remembering that she needed to get a few notes in.
As some point Krall, as talented as she is, will have to stop selling out or become the female Liberace. At this point she's on her way to Lawrence Welk territory. Sure, Sinatra did slow songs too. He also had impeccable phrasing when he did and actually sang--neither of which Krall can say. He also hit high notes and sang out. Neither of which Krall can say. He also swung. It's been a long time since Krall wanted to do anything but look cute.