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Picks and Pans Review: The Girl in the Other Room

updated 05/03/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/03/2004 01:00AM

Diana Krall

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Krall's bedroom voice can have the unintended effect of putting listeners to sleep. But she shakes things up a bit here with somewhat livelier arrangements and expands her usual repertoire of standards. Krall has written only a handful of songs before, but this time she cowrites six tracks with new husband Elvis Costello and movingly covers his 1981 classic "Almost Blue," proving that it ranks with the great Gershwin torch songs she loves.

Pairing Lady Diana with Elvis the King sounds like a tabloid fantasy, and like a tabloid story the match promises more than it delivers. Their songs together (many about new love) are closely observed and poignant, but could be even better considering the silky power of Krall's alto and Costello's blazing wit. Only a few, such as the Carole King-like "Narrow Daylight," would attract your attention if you heard them at a cocktail party. Still, the potential of this couple is vast. Here's looking forward to their next effort.

JAZZ-POP

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