It isn’t yet Valentine’s Day, but singer-pianist Diana Krall served up an evening of love songs ranging from classic to contemporary in a concert Tuesday evening at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
As the jazz performer promised after delivering her first song of the evening, “’Deed I Do,” virtually every song on the set list revolved around love and/or romance. Backed by some mood-setting visuals and a fine four-man band (guitarist Anthony Wilson, violinist Stuart Duncan, drummer Karriem Riggins and bassist Robert Hurst), Krall ran the gamut from quiet solos to uptempo ensemble numbers while keeping her audience under the spell of the evening.
The song list included Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” as well as Rodgers and Hart’s “Isn’t It Romantic,” at the Great American Songbook end of the spectrum. But Krall also found the right touch for Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia,” about false alarms in life and love, and, later in the set, for the haunting “Almost Blue,” a song written by Krall’s husband Elvis Costello. As she joked before launching into it, “I don’t get to know most of the composers whose songs I sing, but I know this one pretty well.”
While those numbers provided some of Krall’s best piano work, others allowed her musicians to shine on longer jazz-inflected pieces, including a rhythmic interpretation of Tom Waits’ “Temptation.” Standards such as “Moonglow,” “Cry Me a River” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” obviously pleased the sellout crowd as well.
Krall’s encore numbers, including the super-sultry “The Look of Love” and the cheery “Exactly Like You,” polished off a concert devoted to the many faces of romance, past, present, and maybe future.