Jazz Singer / Pianist and newlywed Diana Krall was phoning from California on a sunny day. When I told her it was cold and damp on Long Island, she said: "Oh, good. I'm quite a fan of gloomy weather."
And plenty of us are fans of the gorgeous Ms. Krall, the Grammy-winner whose latest album — The Girl in the Other Room, the first to feature her own compositions — will be in stores Tuesday. Some of the songs are co-written by her husband, the admirably cool Elvis Costello, whom Krall met at the 2002 Grammys, then married in December on their pal Elton John's estate in England.
Hadn't she ever composed songs before? "I've written instrumentals," Diana said, "but never anything like this. And I've never before collaborated with Elvis Costello. So this really is a debut."
It's also something of a risk, this mating of jazz musician and pop rocker. I asked her to describe the spirit of the album. "Think film noir" she said, "with a sultry blonde strolling across the screen as Sydney Greenstreet watches, as if in The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon." I wondered if Diana herself might not play that sultry blonde. Had she ever thought of an acting career? "Where would I find the time?" she asked. "But, yes, if they asked me, I'd certainly have an interest. I love old movies." (Actually, she and Costello will have bit parts in a film due out this summer called De-lovely, starring Kevin Kline as Cole Porter.)
Even more than her new album, what Diana really wanted to talk about was the benefit concert she, Costello and Elton John did for Vancouver General Hospitals bone-marrow transplant program. There's a very personal reason for Diana's dedication to the hospital- She believes that her mother, Adella, enjoyed six years of life following her diagnosis of multiple myeloma (a bone-marrow cancer) because of their care and treatment "The event was about celebrating life and love," Diana told me. "We raised S800.000. We want other families to experience the same with their loved ones."
What are Krall's plans now that the album is done? "After I talk with you, I'll go to the gym," she said. Then I'll be going to Japan to promote the album, then Australia and Europe. In May, I'll go back on tour starting in Canada, then America."
One last question; What was it like getting married at Elton John's place? She laughed. "What can I say? Fabulous."
And how does Diana sign off in that glorious voice? "Goodbye and thanks," she said. "I've gotta go run on the treadmill."