Customer Reviews: Glad Rag Doll
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on October 11, 2012
All musicians have to decide whether to play the same songs the same old way or whether to re-invent themselves periodically. With some, like John Coltrane, this is a continuous process, and so listeners come to expect something different with each album. With others, like Paul Desmond, he played the same way (or an approximation of it) his entire career. Sometimes, an artist with play one way for a while and then switch gears. Miles Davis comes to mind - he went from playing classic small group jazz with his original quintet, to modal jazz on Kind of Blue, to post-bop with the quintet with Wayne Shorter, et al, to fusion and so on.

Diana Krall has the tough job of deciding who she wants to be and whether to sing standards in a small group setting or whether to branch out. She has obviously chosen the latter, having recorded albums with a big band ("From This Moment On"), of originals ("The Girl in the Other Room") and with strings ("The Look of Love"). Glad Rag Doll is the latest effort to re-create Diana Krall.

This is not Krall's best effort. She makes a game attempt, but the instrumentation and arrangements do not showcase her voice or piano, and the songs have a limited emotional range. There is a "thump-thump" quality to the rhythm section which was probably intentional given the pre-bop nature of the songs being sung but given the musicians, is not done effectively. There is a lot of twangy guitar (and banjo and dobro) which is not going to be what Diana Krall's listeners want to hear.

The best songs on this album, not surprisingly, have the least thump-thump and twang. Glad Rag Doll, Prairie Lullaby, Here Lies Love and I Used to Love You are probably the best numbers on the album and allow Krall to sing in her breathy way without the distraction of too much thump and twang.

I suspect that this will be a controversial album in Krall's oevure and that she will seek to re-invent herself from time to time. I agree with reviewers who think that her best albums were recorded earlier when she played with her trio and did standards and straight-ahead jazz. Like many jazz artists who have had to go commercial for her record label, she still does mostly straight-ahead stuff in concert. I hope that Krall's next effort will be jazz.
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on July 22, 2013
First off, I own this album on both CD and LP. It's so good I bought it twice.

Diana Krall has proven her versatility as a singer by stepping beyond the framework of modern Jazz, and going back to the roots of the jazz vixen. It's incredible. End of story. I'm not sure where the claims of this not being jazz are coming from --this is old school 20's jazz a la Etta James. There's a bit of melancholy, but it's jazz, not blues.
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on October 9, 2012
I am very selective about the music I purchase. Diana Krall and T Bone Burnett's Glad Rag Doll is probably only the fourth or fifth purchase this year--it has been a lean year for albums worth purchasing. I like the album--a lot. It covers a lot of territory and it lifts my spirits and takes me back to a simpler time. I am confused about all the negative comments. Can't an artist explore and try new stuff? Must you have the same sound fed to you each time?
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on October 3, 2012
I can see why this is getting mixed reviews. If you are looking for same old Diana, this is not it. But what it is, is excellent! You can tell she is having fun with these songs and as with her other albums, puts that Diana Krall magic on it, making the songs her own! Can't wait to see her perform these live!
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on October 4, 2012
I was looking forward to another jazz standard album from Diana - maybe something with the energy and jump of Stepping Out (one of my all time favorite albums from any artist). At first I was disappointed, but I love Diana's music so much and respect her as a musician, that I've decide to listen to some more and to hear what she's trying to say in the music. And it's growing on me. The bottom line is that Diana has earned my trust, and so while this collection is different than I was hoping for, I'm willing to let Diana try on some different sounds. My initial review would have been five stars. After a few more listens, I'm giving this five stars.
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on October 12, 2012
I actually don't know anything about Diana Krall, but I heard a few songs here and was drawn in. All this nonsense about Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra is just that. If comparisons must be made, this record has a 'Julie London does Tin Pan Alley' vibe, and the lady is backed by an absolutely crack band here, especially Marc Ribot on guitar. As usual, T-Bone Burnett does a remarkable job of making things sound contemporary and authentically vintage at the same time. Maybe it's easier for me to take this stylistic leap because I am so unfamiliar with Ms. Krall's other music, but to my ears, this is a damn fine time. A charming record impeccably played and produced.
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on May 14, 2014
What a combination! Diana Krall's singing and playing, T-Bone's production, and an exploration of musical material that seems to be dissolving in the haze of time. Once again, Diana Krall may be reaching beyond the comfort zones for some listeners, but if you don't put up too much resistance, you may find that she hasn't gone too far afield.

If you think of her track record, she never has kept a straight-line approach throughout her career. She's mixed it up with combos, orchestras, the Great American Song Book, recent pop stuff, and trips to Brazil. Why not step back a little in time? I can't think of any artist that remains viable by performing the same or nearly the same repertoire throughout their entire careers -- unless their careers were extremely short.

With T-Bone adding the deep-color velours and punctuating spices to set the atmosphere, Diana has drenched her piano in the early 20th century where blues & jazz were closer siblings, less complex and musically subtle. If these tunes aren't so complex as her well-known performances from the Great American Song Book, consider that the "Glad Rag Doll" tunes were becoming the Great American Song Book -- just an earlier volume (Think of moving from the saloon to the salon). T-Bone contributes a little rough-brushed suede to Diana's shiny leather performances. Arm-in-arm, Diana and T-Bone are stepping into the salooon and you're invited in to share the fun!
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on October 11, 2012
I'm hoping to get these reviews up where they should be. This is a fantastic album. Dance on your kitchen floor. Play along and sing. There are no mistakes here. Bluesy, jazz, swing. The songs Diana Krall grew up on. This is not canned music, top 40, or the American Songbook. Each piece here takes you on new paths with innovative and surprise arrangements and strings. I say Grammy. I'm lovin' it.
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on July 7, 2016
Edgy and experimental (for this artist), Krall is (gasp) exploring new terrain, which, predictably means that the ultra-conservative, self-appointed Jazz fundamentalists (AKA Fascists) and Krall "fans" (fans being short for fanatics) hate it. "Oh my God, she's trying something different," or as one constipated, witless reviewer whined, "put your clothes back on."
Edifyingly informal, smoky, filled to the brim with color, sexy and raw (but we like 'smooth' jazz and never mind that's an oxymoron) Krall not only feels substantial again, but in a completely different and innovative way, she's more substantial than she's ever been. Smartly, she knows that to stay static is artistic death

Highlights include:
.The opening track, which inspired the totally apt cover art that prompted jazz puritans to reach for their crosses (trying to ward off this salty succubus).
. "We just couldn't say goodbye," which is straight out of the speakeasy.
.Crepuscular swinging in "Just Like a butterfly…"
Risk taking with "Lonely Avenue" (quoting Miles even)
and superb piano playing again.
Highly recommended
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on July 17, 2013
I've been a big fan since her first release here in the States. Where the early albums had more of a jazz feel to them and featured a bit more of her piano (which I enjoy, personally) and the following were dominated by lush arrangements of standards and her distinctly sensual vocals which at times came dangerously close to being a caricature of her style, this album is a much different approach in song selection and instrumentation. I delayed buying this one just because of the departure from what we've come to expect from the lady, but after several listenings at different times I'm beginning to like more of the album. Probably just as 'The Girl In The Other Room' will never get as much play on my stereo as her other albums, this will get an occasional spin. I appreciate and understand the need for an artist to grow, but hope the next one will be closer to the groove we associate with her.
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