By Chris Willman
Updated April 30, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Grief and sex may seem uncomfortable bedfellows, but anyone who’s endured a loved one’s death and found a new soul mate in close proximity will recognize the profoundly mixed feelings in Krall’s alternately poignant and playful Room. Steeped in the loss of Krall’s mother and her mentors Rosemary Clooney and Ray Brown and in her betrothal to Elvis Costello, the disc could be subtitled Three Funerals and a Wedding. Or Guess I Don’t Get Around Much to Standards Anymore, with Krall trading in Cole Porter for Tom Waits when not testing the writing waters herself via a half-dozen confessional collaborations with Costello. Initially, it’s not clear that the soulful, Basie-style carnality of ”Love Me Like a Man” and Joni-esque condolences of ”Departure Bay” belong on the same album. But with an assist from the controlled chaos of Krall’s piano runs, those conflicting emotions finally coalesce in beautiful, fearful symmetry.