I was fully expecting to enjoy seeing Diana Krall live. Her low key musical approach to the repertoire of the Great American songbook has given me such pleasure over the last twenty years. And her two most used guitar players - Russell Malone & Anthony Wilson - are both superb. What I wasn't expecting from a Krall concert was much surprise, although that did not dampen my eager anticipation.
But surprise me she did. At least half of her selections were not standards. Instead, both in the portions when she was supported by her terrific quintet (including Wilson) and also when she played solo, Krall explored the work of some of contemporary music's great composers. Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, John Phillips, Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Paul McCartney and others were featured. Although I suspect some of Krall's more recent recordings - none of which I own - probably contain some or most of the songs she performed, it was still a wonderful surprise hearing these tunes, imaginatively re-invented. The Dylan and McCartney stuff was unknown to me, amplifying my delight and making me anxious to seek out the originals after hearing Krall's take.
In addition, I appreciated Krall asking the audience during her solo section what they'd like to hear. Most yelled out standards - perhaps heard on the same earlier recordings I own - and she did a few. But then she turned around and did a jaunty version of Fats Waller's "Your Feet's Too Big", including an authentic stride piano solo - another delightful surprise.
Krall saved her biggest surprise for the three song encore - no standards - "I'm Not In Love" (10 cc), "Ophelia" (the Band) and "Hey Now, The Dream Is Over" (Tears For Fears). If you were planning to see her soon, sorry for the spoilers. Go anyway; so worth it.