Diana Krall pays homage to the Ziegfeld girls by dressing up quite sexy on the cover of her latest album Glad Rag Doll. The change of the image also signifies the departure of Krall’s musical direction. She puts jazz standards aside and goes all the way back to the ’20s and ’30s. The selection might be obscure to most listeners, but very familiar to Krall who spent her youth absolving her family’s record collection.
Glad Rag Doll kicks off with a fun, mid-tempo swing “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye.” What makes the old tune so invigorating is the way she plays around with the lyrics. “Listen ladies and gentlemen / Here’s what happened to us,” she says. Instead of singing the next bars to tell us what happened to her love story, she scats. The result is quite clever.
Producer T Bone Burnett plays a key role in the album success. The best thing he has done is putting guitarist Marc Ribot in the same studio with Krall. His accompaniment on the title track is a proof that Ribot is the master of understatement who undertands emotion is much more essential than techniques. On “I’m a Little Mixed Up,” however, he switches up his distorted, rocking riffs against the slapping backbeat provided by bassist Dennis Crouch and keyboardist Keefus. The strong rhythm section gives Krall the freedom to explore the good old country bluesy licks on the piano.
Vocal wise, Krall is still at the top of her game. The cover “Lonely Avenue” showcases Krall’s raw vocals over the gritty feedback of Ribot’s guitar. With Glad Rag Doll, Krall and her musicians had successfully brought old-school songs into the new century.