Diana Krall is already equipped with enough vocal sensuality to take your breath away, and the material on Quiet Nights (CD – MP3) is like adding a splash of brandy to her already crackling fire. Satiny bossa nova backdrops provide Krall with a moody, hushed palette on which to drizzle her breathy yet powerful vocals.
The album’s mix of standards and lovelorn chestnuts is given a loving, reverent treatment by bossa nova pioneer Claus Ogerman, who drapes each arrangement in shimmering, elegant swaths of strings and harmonious horns.
Krall never steps above the music, and she lends a sultry heat to relaxed tunes like “I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face” and a trio of Antonio Carlos Jobim songs, including a breezy “Boy From Ipanema.” “Ipanema” features one of Krall’s rare piano features on the album, as she mostly chooses to let the silken rhythms and swooning strings ebb and flow beneath her carefully placed vocal passages.
Burt Bacharach’s “Walk On By” is performed with appropriate indulgence, as Krall and the band relish each note of the immaculately constructed classic. This is a common approach throughout the album. Each song is paced for maximum relaxation, every swaying section laid bare and explored with attention and reverence.
Krall takes satisfying hold of “You’re my Thrill,” liberally decorating its subtle melodic shifts with restless piano. The listener is whisked away to a starlit Brazilian beach during “Este Seu Olhar,” escorted playfully through cocktail country on “So Nice,” and thoroughly romanced by the serene title track.
Some needed levity is introduced near the end of the album via a glowing cover of The Bee Gee’s “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” but for the most part this record is all about smoldering sensuality and highly concentrated love songs. Not that the Bee Gees tune isn’t a love song, but the tune has a slightly lighter mood than the rest of the disc.
By the time the set-ending “Every Time You Say Goodbye” rolls around, you’ll be begging for Diana to stay and keep singing. Quiet Nights makes the listener feel like they spent just such a night in the presence of the lovely Ms. Krall and her enchanting voice.