Glad Rag Doll is Diana Krall's 11th studio album in a recording career that turns 20 next year. It's also a massive departure from the approach she's taken so far, a totally fresh effort displaying a courage few successful artists have.
Centre-stage with Krall on Glad Rag Doll is legendary producer T Bone Burnett, engineer Mike Persante and multi-instrumentalist Marc Ribot.
It's a match made in heaven because Burnett's production style and Ribot's musical contributions are highly influential and take Krall's soundscape to a very different place, while still highlighting her prowess as a singer and pianist. And - as if to emphasise a new approach - Krall plays an 1890s Steinway upright, which is a contrast to the grand piano she usually plays.
What strikes me particularly on Glad Rag Doll is the immense variety in tempo and style. From the down-and-dirty There Ain't No Sweet Man Worth The Salt Of My Tears and You Know - I Know Everythings's Made For Love to the whimsy of the title track. Elsewhere there's everything between, all imbued with a sense of swing.
There's no doubt the production and the musicality of the band setting, especially the work of Marc Ribot, have stretched Diana Krall. Well, perhaps not stretched - maybe it's a revisitation of the big 78rpm library she grew up with, and has added to since.
I can't identify one inferior song on this album. My two hot tracks are Let It Rain and Doc Pomus' Lonely Avenue. Of the many versions of this brilliant composition around, Krall's has raised the bar. Glad Rag Doll may just be her best yet.
Glad Rag Doll
Rating: 5 / 5