Monday, March 26, 2012

A musical promise at last fulfilled

Some eight or nine years ago, my wife and I discovered the music of jazz pianist/vocalist Diana Krall and quickly became such devoted fans (buying every one of her CDs) that we swore if she ever did a concert within a couple of hundred miles, we would go see it.

The time came last Thursday night at the Durham Performing Arts Center, and although Krall did not sing the sultry classics ("I've Got You Under My Skin," "Let's Fall in Love" or "'s Wonderful") we had fallen for, her performance did not disappoint. Accompanied for most of the show by a bass player, a drummer and electric guitarist Anthony Wilson, Krall never left the stage for about two hours as she interpreted familiar tunes and improvised jazz arrangements as charmingly as Miles Davis. She is an extraordinary pianist and has a vocal style that is soothing and alluring, but she showed off her jazz roots at the DPAC, giving each of her accompanists a chance to strut their stuff while she listened attentively or deftly accompanied on the Steinway. A couple of long, extended riffs left the audience entranced and wondering where the rhythm might lead.

Our seats were in the upper balcony, far above the stage, but the sight lines were good, and a pair of binoculars allowed me to see her well as she shuffled through sheet music and lines of lyrics on the piano and smiled while she chatted with fans in the expensive seats. The arena was filled, and the fans were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and appreciative.

With my wife, who bought the tickets as a late birthday gift for me, her sisters, stepmom and brother-in-law, it was a glorious evening that left us feeling sublimely fulfilled. I've punched one ticket on my bucket list.

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