Using a deep and often sultry cocktail of bossa nova, samba, and Latin tones over delightful jazz and standard compositions, Diana Krall provides a stylish and intimate performance on Live in Rio. The DVD features the Canadian jazz pianist and vocalist working tightly with her quartet and a full orchestra.
The DVD, showcasing a concert recorded live at Vivo Rio in Rio de Janeiro in 2008, is quiet and warm for the most part. The majority of the material is focused on her March 31 release, Quiet Nights, but she does pull out some fun standards.
The set isn’t particularly energetic and the surroundings reflect that. As the camera pulls out to reveal the lay of the land, banquet-style tables with candles are revealed: this is less a lively, spicy concert and more a quiet, tender evening among close friends. The video cutaways to various locales around Rio help infuse the DVD with a sense of location, but one gets the sense that this performance could have taken place just about anywhere else.
Musically, Live in Rio is superb. Krall’s quartet – Anthony Wilson on guitar, John Clayton on bass, and Jeff Hamilton on drums – is really in sync with one another. An early number, “I Love Being Here with You,” finds each member pulling out dynamic solos to much encouragement from Krall’s piano. Paulinho da Costa builds momentum with his legendary percussion, too.
Krall’s voice is sultry and sweet, but it never overwhelms. She is a modest, understated performer and relies on her technical prowess on the piano much more than her voice. In simple black dress with high heels, Krall is a picture of beauty without distracting from her quartet or the lovely backing orchestra led by conductor Claus Ogerman.
The songs flow well, working off of the bright and breezy nicety of Krall and her band. Tunes like “I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face” and “So Nice” are presented with silky instrumentation. Krall seems secure with each arrangement, smiling and playing off of her quartet good-naturedly.
The DVD also features the new video for “The Boy from Ipanema” and an interview entitled “Conversations” that discusses the importance of Rio de Janeiro as Krall’s inspiration for Latin styles.
As a soft selection of bossa nova-inspired tunes, Live in Rio is a treat. It isn’t as energetic or daring as her 2002 Live in Paris set, but there’s a quiet intricacy here that showcases how good Krall can be as a jazz pianist and overall performer. Unassuming, smooth, and intimate, Live in Rio is recommended for an evening in with a glass of the red stuff and a significant other.