Together Ms. Krall and Mr. Ogerman (who was absent; Alan Broadbent conducted the orchestra) treat songs as film-noir fragments in which everything remains ambiguous and unresolved. Ms. Krall doesn’t interpret lyrics in a literary manner. With her dark whispery alto, she slithers through songs in short stop-start phrases that sometimes reduce a melody to a single repeated note. One string of words may be elongated with an emphasis on a vowel or a scooped-up syllable; the next grouping may be nearly swallowed as she hurries to catch up.

The effect is to turn songs into mysterious stream-of-consciousness ruminations. Adopting a jazz singer’s prerogative, she turns standards (“Where or When,” “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” “Love Letters”) expressing familiar romantic sentiments into semi-abstract, personal reflections whose meanings may not necessarily coincide with — and may even contradict — the words as written.

At the same time Mr. Ogerman’s lush arrangements, with their cool, sighing choruses of woodwinds and strings, carry advanced chromaticism to the edge of dissonance. Instead of a harmonic happy ending, the typical arrangement fades out like a ghost in the fog. The combination of voice and orchestration sustains an undercurrent of erotic tension fraught with foreboding. The truth remains hidden. That aura of ambiguity applied even to those numbers, like “P.S. I Love You” and “A Case of You,” that Ms. Krall sang while accompanying herself on piano, without the orchestra.

The concert’s somber mood was interrupted by some moments of hard swing (“ ’Deed I Do” and “I Love Being Here With You,” the latter prefaced by an extended stride piano solo) in which Ms. Krall’s emphasis on vocal sound over verbal elucidation was even more pronounced. Yes, on one level, Ms. Krall is a middle-of-the-road pop-jazz diva. But just below the surface lies an interpreterwho is talking to herself in a private language that is all about rhythm.


Holden, Stephen. “The Voice is Dark and the Emphasis Mysterious” New York Times. June, 24th 2009.

~ by crossmd on July 11, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: