Diana Krall ‘Glad rag doll’ (Verve) 4/5

Pianist-singer Diana Krall has attempted various stylistic changes over the years and this rootsier retro feel is an inspired choice that actually sounds authentic and convincing. Bringing on board roots producer T-Bone Bennett was a step in the right direction and a crack band that includes among others guitarist Marc Ribot lends a cohesive air to the album more generally. Krall has gone back into the jazz tradition, but has added folksier elements that make this recording sound both contemporary and classic at the same time. The opener ‘We just couldn’t say goodbye’ features some delicious barrelhouse blues piano playing that suits Krall to perfection and provides plenty of scope for her to improvise. The singer excels on the slower material such as the delicate ballad with guitar intro that is ‘Just like a butterfly that’s caught in the rain’, or on the vocal and acoustic guitar duet on the title track that is a
lovely departure from the rest. Arguably one of the album’s most compelling songs is the haunting tune ‘Prairie lullaby’ while ‘I used to love but it’s all over now’ is deeply melodic. That is not to say, however, that the band cannot produce music in an uptempo groove and the foot-stomping ‘I’m a little mixed up’ is testimony to their talents in this respect. Fine all round performances allied to the old time feel make for a strong album overall that has been performed with conviction. This is a welcome addition to an ever expanding repertoire for Diana Krall. Tim Stenhouse

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