Diana Krall, "Glad Rag Doll" (Verve)
Diana Krall's "Glad Rag Doll" instantly grabs your attention, and not just because of the provocative cover art featuring the lovely singer decked out in, well, not much.
It's the songs, and T Bone Burnett's usual excellent production, that are the real draw here.
There are no lilting orchestras or dreamy string quartets followers of Krall have come to expect. Sure, her signature piano is there, along with her smoky vocals, but it's Marc Ribot's guitar that establishes a ghostly, vaudevillian feel to the mostly jazz songs Krall covers.
Everything comes together to serve the Prohibition-era theme of the record perfectly. Even a song written in the 1950s -- Doc Pomus' "Lonely Avenue" -- seems right at home.
Throw in a tasteful amount of Mellotron, ukulele, banjo and bass and "Glad Rag Doll" rocks. It rolls. It swings. It shuffles. It's sexy, sly, intimate and exhilarating.
Check this out: "Let It Rain," a modern take on the 1925 Gene Austin song, sounds both utterly modern and timeless. That's something that's not easy to pull off, but Krall does it in a way that seems effortless.