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Diana Krall, the Harry Connick Jr. of the ’90s, exemplifies the triumph of hype over talent. A passable but colorless pianist, she’s increasingly devoting herself to singing, for which she exhibits no discernible aptitude. Her oblivious phrasing lacks passion, tenderness, and humor, and her numerous vocal deficiencies include an unappealingly raspy sound and an inability to sustain pitch. Krall’s 12 performances on Love Scenes, backed by guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Christian McBride, would barely pass muster at a hick town Ramada Inn piano bar. But shrewd marketing (including an upcoming guest shot on Melrose Place) has catapulted her to pop-jazz stardom, a success that must stick in the craws of Andy Bey, Rebecca Parris, Ian Shaw, and other vastly more deserving vocalists. The jacket and insert booklet of Love Scenes feature amber-lit glamour shots of Krall popping out of negligees and striking sultry sorority-girl poses at the foot of an ornate staircase, her face as comatose as her singing. This musically challenged release, following close on the heels of McCoy Tyner’s hilariously overblown symphonic Burt Bacharach collection, debases the Impulse label, once home to Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and other authentic jazz artists.—Joel E. Siegel