Last year, in the liner notes for her promising debut album, the singer-pianist Diana Krall made mention of her deep admiration for Nat “King” Cole. This year, on All for You (Impulse), she gave full rein to that sentiment and in the process fulfilled her promise. The album comprises songs from Cole’s voluminous repertoire, performed by a trio mimicking his famous piano-bass-guitar units of the 30s and 40s, and it provides a focus that Krall’s first album lacked; it also leaves listeners agog at the musical maturity of this twentysomething jazzwoman as she recaptures the original romance of these songs without slipping into camp or naivete. Unlike most singer-pianists, Krall would be a formidable artist if she chose to abandon either categorization for the other. She sheathes her husky, womanly voice in velvet, and with it she effortlessly traverses a huge emotional range, from the street-smart sass of “Hit That Jive Jack” to the near-bathos of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Meanwhile, she highlights her crisp right-hand work with protean chording in the bass registers, and word has it that she continues to woodshed specific aspects of her piano technique. (Such humility is admirable in a pianist who has already mastered touch and improvisational form–and might well unnerve her keyboard contemporaries.) Not since Shirley Horn began recording in the 60s has jazz discovered a grand pianist who sings this well, or a sterling vocalist who plays this well (except for Chicago’s own Patricia Barber). In Chicago, she leads the splendid trio that appears on her album: Paul Keller on bass and Russell Malone, a guitarist who finds inspiration in the often overlooked Grant Green as well as in such standard models as Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery. Friday and Saturday, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 312-670-2473. Also Friday, 6 PM, Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan; 312-573-0564.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Diana Krall photo.