tue 20/10/2020

Album: This Dream of You – Diana Krall | reviews, news & interviews

Album: This Dream of You – Diana Krall

Album: This Dream of You – Diana Krall

An unsatisfactory postscript to the Krall/LiPuma years

“Produced by Tommy LiPuma.” That phrase has appeared on just about every Diana Krall album since the summer of 1995, when the Cleveland-born mogul arrived at the GRP label – it would be his sixth and last music industry affiliation – and promptly signed the Canadian singer-pianist.

“Produced by Tommy LiPuma.” That phrase has appeared on just about every Diana Krall album since the summer of 1995, when the Cleveland-born mogul arrived at the GRP label – it would be his sixth and last music industry affiliation – and promptly signed the Canadian singer-pianist.

The four words appear again in the credits for each of the twelve tracks of This Dream of You. They are the album’s anomaly. And also, sad to say, its problem.

It is an anomaly because Lipuma, with 33 Grammy nominations and 5 Grammys to his name, and 75 million albums sold, passed away at the age of 80 on 13 March 2017. He had been heavily involved at just about every aspect of Krall's Turn up the Quiet (2017), released just weeks after he died. (There has, incidentally, been another album since, Love is Here to Stay (2018), a set of duets with Tony Bennett and pianist Bill Charlap’s trio, which was produced by the artists themselves.)

And the problem? Whereas Turn Up The Quiet contained the very best of Krall’s sessions in the years before Lipuma passed away, This Dream of You (Verve), presenting the also-rans, is quite simply not as good.

There are just too many cases where the spark has gone. There are several tracks coloured by a distinct lack of energy or enthusiasm. In “Almost Like Being in Love”, for example, Krall sounds either bored or tired. It would be hard to imagine the words “There's a smile on my face/ For the whole human race” being delivered with any less of a hint of a smile or of magnanimity. And I have become more and more convinced that the inflexion I can hear in Krall’s voice, as she and pianist Alan Broadbent emerge together from the verse of “More Than You Know” and step gently into the song form, is actually a yawn. Would LiPuma have wanted tracks like these released? Surely not. 

For a very good insight into what produced the original “magic” in the collaboration of Krall and LiPuma, it is worth checking out Ben Sidran’s very good biography of the producer, The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma (Nardis, 2020). “Making an album,” LiPuma said, “particularly a jazz album, is a kind of dance; everybody has to be in tune and in step with everybody else.” The breakthrough in Krall’s work with the producer, he says, came with a chilled version of “And I Love Her” with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash, made for a GRP compilation of Beatles songs. And so much of what happened thereafter was to re-visit that langorous feel.

It forms the prevalent mood of This Dream of You, and attempts to escape from it are all too rare. “Just You Just Me” has some lively and propulsive drumming from Kariem Riggins, and is in a clever uncredited arrangement – presumably done on the hoof and in the studio – in which the group make nifty use of a riff from Neal Hefti’s “Cute”. The album needs more of that kind of sass.

This disappointing album feels like quite the wrong way to be setting the seal on the Krall/LiPuma years. It is to be hoped that she can and will bounce back from it.

@sebscotney on Twitter

In “Almost Like Being in Love”, Krall sounds either bored or tired.

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Comments

I believe you missed the boat on this. This disc is way better than you credit it. The sound and fidelity are outstanding. The soundstage is very deep and broad. The players are all first rate among the best in the music business. The material are all great songs/standards. Diana Krall is a gifted pianist who has a unique voice. Its a rare combination, great singer, great player. Few have that. She completely delivers on each and every song. I did not get that bored take you describe on Almost like being in love. The interpretation of How Deep Is the Ocean, is just great. this is a fabulous album by one of the best artists.

Mitchell, thanks for taking the trouble to write, and also for keeping it so civilised! There is a lot in what you write that I absolutely agree with (your sentences 3-9). However, I am still convinced that "Turn Up The Quiet" is a far stronger album than this one. And I can't help thinking about that yawn. Yes, yawns can be irresistibly attractive (I went back to Proust and to the point where his narrator in "La Prisonnière" is completely besotted by Albertine's "bâillement").  But the one I that I hear DK doing in "More Than You Know" should never - to my mind - have been immortalized by being put on record. 

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