Muscat: Diana Krall was one of the most highly anticipated artists to perform during the Royal Opera House Muscat's (ROHM) 2013-2014 season and she was everything expected and much, much more.
Her concerts on April 29 and 30 left the audiences enchanted, energised and ever so thankful that they had been among the lucky ones to see her first performance in the GCC. The Canadian jazz singer and pianist was in such high demand at the ROHM that after her first scheduled concert sold out not long after tickets went on sale, that a second was added, and it, too, was a big seller. After all, Krall is one of the best jazz vocalists of her generation, and her music, whether it's covers of jazz standards or her own compositions, is timeless.
While there is no doubt that Krall is the star of her shows, she is also backed up by very talented musicians. Since 2001 electric guitarist Anthony Wilson, who can make his instrument sing, has been a staple of her quartet. His riffs were indeed impressive, and his passion was infectious. Drummer Karriem Riggins brought energetic rhythms to the mix, while acoustic bass player Robert Hurst provided that indispensable, rich anchoring sound and some stellar moments of improvisation.
From their first song on Tuesday evening, Just Found Out About Love, to the last one, Cheek to Cheek, Krall and her band charmed the audience with their playful approach and spontaneity. For the first time at the ROHM, the programme didn't have a set list, so Krall let the mood and the moment influence the choice of songs. Though her songs were familiar to many, she can make them seem new again, as if one were listening to them for the first time.
She spoke of her passion for jazz legends like Nat King Cole, and sang a number of his songs. Her smoky, sensual voice and almost rock-star piano playing made standards Deed I Do and Just You, Just Me seem like her own. A few other well-known jazz hits, including Cry Me A River, Let's Face the Music and Dance, and her cover of Bob Dylan's Simple Twist of Fate, made it into the set list, too.
As Krall's voice faded away on her final song, the audience couldn't bear to let her leave, and were immediately on their feet cheering for more. And so they returned to the stage for an encore, a sublime rendition of East of the Sun (And West of the Moon) in which time seemed to stand still, letting jazz fans savour the moment for just a little longer before wandering out into the starlit night, romantic jazz still playing in their minds.
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