Hugely successful but painfully average, Krall has regularly supplied incontrovertible evidence that contemporary jazz singing is in a bad way. Full marks at least, then, for ditching the supper-club fare for something notionally edgier.
Along with a cover of Elvis’ “Almost Blue” there are six Costello/Krall co-writes (the first time Krall’s committed a self-composition to record), all of which noticeably bear hubbie’s imprimatur, though his own way with a melody has often borne a jazz inflection, too. But it’s Krall’s voice that has always been her biggest problem: a dry-throated, husky, rock-ish thing, it’s hardly a jazz instrument and conveys little emotion; consequently these songs feel like elegant but bloodless conceits. She doesn’t get any juice out of Tom Waits’ “Temptation” either and, as jazz appropriations of Joni Mitchell’s “Black Crow” go, Krall’s take was always going to have a hard job matching Cassandra Wilson’s. As a pianist, she’s okay, her solos amiable but unsurprising. To paraphrase him indoors, TGITOR is almost touching, it will almost do.