I don't really put much stock in the concept of the guilty pleasure, but if you're gonna feel guilty about liking something, shouldn't it be really pleasurable? That's the question Diana Krall's new Verve disc, Live in Paris, keeps asking me: The Canadian singer-pianist's playing is certainly fine, and her vocal improvisation admirable (and the respectful Parisian audience's applause heartwarming), but the set, recorded over four days last November and December, lacks the cream-puff sonic luxuriance of last year's The Look of Love, which paired Krall with arranger Claus Ogerman for an hour of high-gloss jazz-pop power that made no mistake about its Crate & Barrel ubiquity. Ogerman arranged Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, a sensuous 1967 curio that saw the king of swinging machismo try his hardest to whisper like those Brazilian tone poets, and he supplied Krall with the same lush ambience; Love's "Love Letters" feels like rolling around in bedsheets with a thread count no mere mortal could afford, even if your parents would also probably dig it. Live, on the other hand, feels more like jazz (until Krall sidles up to Billy Joel's ghastly "Just the Way You Are," anyway)--less shame, but less game.
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