Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2009 // 149 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // June 6th, 2009
S'Wonderful! S'Marvelous! S'Krall!
At age 44, Canadian jazz chanteuse Diana Krall has accomplished a great deal. After winning a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, her studies took her to Los Angeles and New York, where she worked with many of the modern genre greats. In 1993, she released her first album, and by 1996, she was found with a hit record (All for You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio) and a Grammy award nomination. In 1999, she finally won one of the coveted little trophies, and now has eight total nods and another win to her credit. She was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2000, and three years later married musician/rock legend Elvis Costello, with whom she currently has two young sons.
But outside all the accolades and accomplishments, Krall's main passion has always been music -- especially the standards that set the benchmark for pop songwriting in the days of Tin Pan Alley. For her critically acclaimed performance in the shadow of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Krall enlisted many of these memorable tunes, taking them in a balmy bosso nova direction. She even treated the Vivo Rio locals with a few of their favorites as well. Now available on Blu-ray, this Live in Rio experience signifies everything that is great, and gratifying, about this instrumentalist/vocalist.
Over the course of nearly 149 minutes, Krall canvases a great deal of musical history. She rewards her attentive and polite crowd with 18 numbers, ranging from the obvious (a take on "The Boy from Ipanema") to the unusual (Burt Bacharach and Hal David's classic "Walk on By" gets a wily workout as well). Along the way, she offers a few regional favorites as well as digging into her catalog of album cuts. For those interested in the set list, here are the songs performed:
"I Love Being Here with You"
"Let's Fall in Love"
"Where or When"
"Too Marvelous for Words"
"I've Grown Accustomed to His Face"
"Walk on By"
"Frim Fram Sauce"
"Cheek to Cheek"
"You're My Thrill"
"Let's Face the Music and Dance"
"Every Time We Say Goodbye"
"Este Seu Olhar"
"The Boy from Ipanema"
"I Don't Know Enough About You"
"Exactly Like You"
The very definition of smoky and sultry, Diana Krall's voice can best be described as velvety and rich, quiet but quite powerful. She manages a lot of depth in such a singular, sullen approach. She's not a screamer or a big time ballad belter. Instead, she caresses the lyrics along her often interpretative melody lines, bringing out nuances the composers themselves probably didn't know existed. Her entire manner represents a private supper club where it's just you, the singer, and about 5,000 of her closest friends.
This is not to say that Diana Krall: Live in Rio isn't intimate. Indeed, from the moment the striking blonde takes the stage, you often think she is singing directly for and to you. In fact, such a low key, "lite" musical mode may put some live concert fans to sleep. As with anything oriented around jazz, you either enjoy the genre or you wish Ronnie James Dio would show up and start throwing hand signs. Fans of this particular artform have been favoring Krall with hit albums and tours from the very beginning and there is no doubting that Live in Rio will fit right into their slow jam groove. It's a wonderfully fulfilling and sonically straightforward experience, with just enough local color from various insert Brazilian locations to add to the overall ambience.
Of course, purists will be pressuring for a more in-depth look at the Blu-ray specs offered here. In general, this is a gorgeous release. The 1080i high definition image is excellent, the 1.78:1 aspect ratio resulting in a beautiful picture and presentation. While some will balk at the lack of a 1080p version, Live in Rio still looks amazing. Similarly, Eagle Vision's standard three step sonic set-up is maintained. We get a LPCM Stereo mix (good), a regular Dolby Digital 5.1 track (excellent), and a highly immersive and almost pristine DTS HD Master Audio offering. It really is stellar, especially when you consider how low some of these arrangements go, volume wise. There are times when it's just Krall, her piano, and the hushed brushes of the drummer -- and it all comes across magnificently.
As for added content, Eagle Vision does the standard DVD of the concert one better by adding a rooftop session (Krall sitting back, freestyling with friends and some accompaniment), as well as a promo for "The Boy from Ipanema" (read: music video) and a collection of "Conversations" (again, Krall interacting both verbally and musically with a select group of people). These bonus features add a lot to the overall feel of the concert.
Gorgeous to look at and beautiful to listen to, Diana Krall: Live in Rio
(Blu-ray) will provide the knowledgeable and the novice with over two hours
of rapturous aural bliss. There is a reason why this Canadian artist remains a
genre giant -- and it's inherent in every note of this incredible concert.
Review content copyright © 2009 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 149 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Sessions
* Music Video