Glad Rag Doll

Diana Krall

Verve, 2012

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones


For those who have followed and enjoyed Diana Krall’s career, you are probably enamored with her style, which has focused on Krall’s exquisite jazz piano playing and silky vocals but also comes laden with strings at times.  Some of her earlier works could be classified as elevator music with all the backing strings and synths.  But my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Glad Rag Doll is a departure from all of that.

For Glad Rag Doll, Krall went crawling through her grandparents’ old 78s and piano bench sheet music for material.  Then she hired her friend T. Bone Burnett as a producer, which put a whole new spin on things.  The approach to this album is that of a much more straightforward jazz quartet ensemble of piano, bass, guitar, and drums, but with a heavy-handed Burnett spin.  Those familiar with other Burnett productions know that he can boost the bass and rhythm sections of a disc to the point of being overpowering (Krauss and Plant’s Raising Sand is a great example).  The same is true on Glad Rag Doll, but there seems to be a conscious effort to hold it back on several songs. 

The tunes on the album range from the classic love song ("We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye") to the spiritual ("Wide River To Cross") to the vaudevillian ("When the Curtain Comes Down").   The real treasure for this album lies on the deluxe edition bonus tracks.   These tracks provide alternate versions of the disc’s title track and "There Ain't No Sweet Man That's Worth the Salt of My Tears," and takes on "As Long As I Love" and "Garden In The Rain."  These tracks are nothing but Krall singing at the piano, as if you were listening to her in her living room.  Unadulterated jazz piano and awesome vocals make me wish for an album of hers produced solely in this stripped-down style.

Diana Krall does not disappoint, and her choice of ensemble and producer here gives Glad Rag Doll a fresh edge that makes it a pleasant listen. 

Rating: B+

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