July 28, 2021

Diana Krall | The Economist

An artist can be reached by coincidence, recommendation, or mistake. I came to Diana Krall by mistake. Actually I was looking for music by her husband, Elvis Costello (my idol) and Saint Google threw me “One of those things” sung by that ethereal voice of the Krall.

“One of those things” is a sad song disguised as joy. It’s someone stopping someone else’s car: “I’m not in love with you, it was just one of those fun things for a little while.”

The song is what they call the sapientes of jazz a American Standard, which is to say an unavoidable part of the American musical tradition. Well, with Krall she is a marvel, a surrounding glow to her great career.

Later I discovered her singing live on her album Live from Paris and she made me feel that something of Nina Simone was still alive, even though they are both so different. They have in common the deep feeling they bring to their piano performances, which makes them virtuous musicians.

But her songs, both Nina’s and Diana’s, make me sad, even though she plays with her piano and is very funny at her concerts. I think that, as a certain pop song says, you can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness. Diana Krall is my kind of sadness. And it is the kind of sadness of millions of people in the world.

I think we could measure the melancholy rate per capita by the volume of Diana Krall’s Spotify streams.

As soon as I knew I was coming to Mexico City, I ran to buy tickets. And it turns out that none of my friends liked Krall. What if it’s boring, what the hell, who is Diana Krall. That if it’s elevator music, and they yelled at me to die to white jazz.

Anyway. The day of the concert there was a heavy metal gig at El Lunario and I thought: “Shouldn’t I be there instead of here with pure ñor?” I think I’m getting old.

In the end I pulled on a half-force friend, who spent the whole night asking for “Stormy weather” and embarrassing me. He was bored of the beauty.

But not me. Ah, how great, what mastery has the group of the Krall. The best thing is that it is a true jazz band even though it bears the name of the vocalist: Diana Krall understands that she is only part of the ensemble. Each one is a virtuoso in his own way and each one takes his part of the song and turns it into a universe.

When Diana played Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” she almost cried. My heart is broken (you know, it’s one of those hard times for love) and I sang with all my chest that “Only you beneath the moon and under the sun”. The whole concert at the National Auditorium could be the soundtrack of a failed love movie.

The Krall band threw a big punch of Tom Waits’s “Temptation,” beautiful. Oh temptation, I can’t resist When Krall’s whispering voice sings it, one cannot help but believe him: that woman is dying of desire.

When we left the concert, it was raining. The petricor, that sweet smell of the wet earth when it starts to rain, had already disappeared, apparently in Polanco a downpour had fallen while I wiped my tears when Diana covered herself with Bob Dylan to close her performance.

What can I tell you: I love Diana Krall, I love her melancholy. I know she’s not Billie Holiday or Etta James or Dinah Washington, but she is gifted for music and for the stage. Sometimes it is tasty to sadden.

Columnist and Reporter

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