Diana Krall swings into town 

Jazz queen Diana Krall seemed to thoroughly enjoy her show Wednesday night at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall.

She’s liked frequent recent visits to the Bay Area, she said, also mentioning that she’s been on tour for "nearly three years" and that her two baby boys are fine.

Ever so cool, tossing her silky long hair and tapping her deliciously high-heeled feet while enlightening the audience with just enough witty banter, Krall and her superb trio played an impeccable set of straight-ahead jazz, mostly swinging standards.

Although Krall, one of the few jazz artists to receive widespread, rock-star like acclaim, doesn’t have the extraordinary singing voice to match her piano chops, her interpretations of great songs sure go down easy.

Her bandmates are the same as the rhythm section on her latest recording, last year’s "From This Moment On": Anthony Wilson, who almost seemed to eat the guitar; Robert Hurst, steady on bass; and drummer Jeff Hamilton, maker of melodic solos.

Their synchronicity sparked in the perfectly ideal concert hall, where a minimal light show provided a romantic backdrop of stars.

"Romantic" describes the evening’s mood.

Krall and the band swung with bouncy, upbeat love songs: Peggy Lee’s "I Love Being Here With You," Cole Porter’s "Let’s Fall in Love," Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields’ "Exactly Like You," and the Gershwins’ "I Was Doing Alright," for example.

She introduced a tranquil version of Porter’s "I’ve Got You Under My Skin" with a fun anecdote about doing poorly with it during a high school audition — at a time when most of her classmates were playing Elvis Costello songs.

Among the show’s quieter standouts were Nat King Cole’s "I’ll String Along With You" — it was simply gorgeous — and Joni Mitchell’s "A Case of You," which she performed accompanied only by herself on piano.

She dove into the 1970s pop songbook with the evening’s closer, the Bee Gees’ "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" perhaps the show’s most evocative tune.

It provided a lovely contrast to the joyful mood that characterized most of the concert. Krall has said that her recent CD coincides with a "happier" time in her life. It’s a feeling she imparted to her thoroughly satisfied listeners.

lkatz@examiner.com

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Leslie Katz

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