The new Diana Krall CD is called The Girl In The Other Room (Verve), and substituting “man” for “girl” would work as well.
Fully half of the disc’s dozen songs are originals written with the help of Elvis Costello, whose “Almost Blue” is also among the six tunes covered here. The first person thanked in the liner notes is Declan MacManus. And the internationally renowned, B.C.-bred singer/pianist has dedicated the album to her husband. Costello, MacManus and Krall’s husband, in case you didn’t know, are one and the same person. About the only place he doesn’t appear in one guise or another is on the list of musical accompanists.
The disc even charts a similar emotional trajectory to Costello’s most recent offering, North. Krall starts with the spiritual desolation of Mose Allison’s “Stop This World,” moves through the distracted despondency of the title track and “Almost Blue,” before striking a hopeful note at the end with “Departure Bay.” “Now we’re skimming stones and exchanging rings,” goes the refrain. “We’re scattering and diving in Departure Bay.”
For all that, the music is less of a departure than a slight shift in course for Krall, whose reputation has thus far been based on her mellow interpretations of jazz standards. While the songs no longer bear the authorial stamp of Gershwin, Porter or Carmichael, the arrangements still stray closer to jazz than pop. This has as much to do Krall’s deft, improvisational command on the keyboard