Chart-topping jazz pianist/singer Diana Krall kicked off the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s main stage season on Tuesday night by making the nearly packed 3,500 seat Hill Auditorium feel as intimate and cozy as The Bird of Paradise.
That long-gone Main St. jazz club, which closed in 2004 after nearly 20 years in business, hosted performances from Krall early in her career (which she mentioned early in the evening); and I’m likely not the only one who had flashbacks of being in that smaller space again as Krall opened Tuesday night’s show with her fun, flirty take on “‘Deed I Do,” and then, shortly after, applied delicate, quiet keystrokes on the Nat King Cole hit “L.O.V.E.” – a song featured on Krall’s latest album, Turn Up the Quiet just released in May.
But Krall had yet another local tie: accompanying her on-stage was U-M professor and bassist Robert Hurst — along with guitarist Anthony Wilson, violinist Stuart Duncan, and drummer Karriem Riggins. Each musician performed like a star in his own right, featured repeatedly on complex, transporting solos throughout the evening, but they were also extraordinary as a musical unit.
“I love playing with you guys,” Krall told her band at one point. “I’ve got the best seat in the house.” (Krall also said, later in the show, after another solo-packed tune, “Sometimes I forget there’s a singer in the band.”) READ THE REST HERE