Diana Krall

Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, Aug. 13

Photo by Erik Kabik

Photo by Erik Kabik

Don’t sing. Seduce.

With technique that’s equal parts musicality and sensuality, and a smoky-sexy purr of a voice that evokes a lover’s fingertips upon your skin. That’s the vocal vixen she is.

Yet she’s also the lady who won’t give herself easily, and that’s the allure of a Diana Krall performance. Striding onstage without fuss, accompanied by her guitarist, drummer and standup bassist, she attacks the piano with boogie-woogie gusto. Frequently brushing aside the long, luxuriant hair that she also seems to hide behind, she at first appears oblivious to us, a packed Reynolds Hall house, consumed in the music as it slides from roadhouse swing to mid-tempo bounce to come-hither ballad.

There is a studio jam session onstage. We just happen to have wandered through.

Several songs in, when the cool blonde finally turns to engage us with some chitchat, the dynamic is sublimely upside down: She doesn’t crave our love. We crave hers.

You approach and appreciate a Diana Krall show on her terms. On her willingness to table her ethereal, tingle-inducing vocals for long stretches in favor of nimble, even ferocious piano solos. On her willingness to do likewise for her talented sidemen. On her insistence that, contrary to the billing, she is less a headliner than one piece of a musical fabric—albeit the standout piece.

For this we are amply rewarded. We melt into her lush interpretations of Jobim’s “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate” and Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean,” caressing the latter lyric like a sexy prayer. We toe-tap to her no-sweat swing on “East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)” and “’Deed I Do.” Mostly, we let ourselves drift toward that aural pleasure zone.

Sex—when it’s slow, sensual and richly erotic—is in this woman’s voice.  Listen … Now open that top button … That’s right  … ★★★★☆ —

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