Pianist Diana Krall explores loss and love

Diana Krall faced two life-changing events on her way to her new album, “The Girl in the Other Room”: her mother’s death and her marriage to Elvis Costello.

Krall, 39, is a consummate jazz pianist who has made her career interpreting the American songbook. With this collection she steps into composing and, with Costello’s help on lyrics, has produced a more personal album.

“I always told how I feel … through the standard form,” she says in a video on Verve’s Web site. She likens her performance style on previous albums to creating a short story, using the work of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Jerome Kern to express what she is feeling in her own life. And it’s been successful for her. Her 1998 work “When I Look in Your Eyes” spent a year in the top position in Billboard’s jazz chart with its heavy sampling of jazz standards.

She goes outside that traditional body of work this time, singing “Stop This World” by Mose Allison, “Almost Blue” by Costello, “Black Crow” by sister Canadian Joni Mitchell, “Temptation” by Tom Waits and “Love Me Like a Man,” the old Bonnie Raitt hit by Chris Smither.

She credits jazz pianist Jimmy Rowles for inspiration on “I’m Pulling Through,” a lesser-known jazz song by Arthur Herzog Jr. and Irene Kitchings, and for her own new work, “I’ve Changed My Address.”

“It’s almost like the things he taught me then, I’m processing now,” she said of Rowles, her mentor.

But it’s in her original work on this CD where Krall shows her heart.

In their collaborations, Krall would tell Costello a story, creating lists of things important to her. He would create lyrics out of them. She was literally “the girl in the other room” as they worked. On the title song, Costello also contributed to the music.

Krall composed the music for these songs on the road on a MiniDisc player, expressing her feelings about loss and love. Those are “Abandoned Masquerade,” “Narrow Daylight,” “I’m Coming Through,” “Departure Bay” and the title track.

“This was fantastically healing, doing this record,” she said. “It’s a personal expression and a portrait of where I was and where I am. … This record is about coming through. This is what I did instead of shutting the door and saying I can’t deal with it. I tried to look at all the positive things I learned from my mother. You can’t always choose what’s going to happen to you, but you can choose your response.”

Most autobiographical is “Departure Bay,” which she first called “Thoughts From Home.”

Visiting her hometown of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island the first Christmas after her mother’s death, she sings:

“Last year we were laughing / We sang in church so beautifully / Now her perfume’s on the bathroom counter / And I’m sitting in the back pew crying. I just get home and then I leave again / It’s long ago and far away / Now we’re skimming stones and exchanging rings / And scattering and sailing from Departure Bay.”

Diana Krall performs Saturday and Sunday at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville.

Diana Krall

7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Woodinville; $48.50, $79.50, 206-628-0888.

Diana Krall

7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Woodinville; $48.50, $79.50, 206-628-0888.

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