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Friday, September 28, 2012

Diana Krall Glad Rag Doll



The cover of Glad Rag Doll  Good grief woman, you're 47!  Impressive!


We love Diana Krall and not just because she comes from Vancouver (well, Nanaimo which is just across the water on Vancouver Island).  However, we can't get away from the fact that many of her songs have been the soundtrack to our friendship with S from that fine city.  Indeed, so identified is she with British Colombia that when we stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver for the first time they had Diana Krall CDs to play in the CD player in the room. 


Triple P's suite at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel 2007


That said, we don't like all her albums equally and she does tend to go off and do something a bit "arty" every once in a while.  This could well be the case with the forthcoming Glad Rag Doll which comes out next week (except in Britain where we have to wait another fortnight).  Supposedly it has a twenties/thirties feeling about it and the visual inspiration for the cover and accompanying publicity photographs were the photographs by Alfred Cheney Johnstone (1885-1971) of Ziegfield girls from the twenties.


A 17 year old Barbara Stanwyck (1924) by Alfred Cheney Johnston 


The more successful Krall became the more she had to suffer the stylists of her record label but this effort exceeds even the leg-flashing cover of The Look of Love.  Oscar winning costume designer Colleen Attwood (she's won three times, including for Chicago) worked with photographer Mark Seliger to produce these very theatrical images.




The problem for Diana is the perpetual one for a popular artist in keeping your public happy but not getting bored as an artist.  The Look of Love, with its slitheringly slinky strings, upset many of her more traditional jazz fans but it went ballistic worldwide.  The Girl in the Other Room, much of which she co-wrote with husband Elvis Costello, was a more personal and less commercial album and it is noteworthy that her next three CDs were a Christmas album, a collection of standards and a follow up to her bossa nova themed The Look of Love.




So, will we like the new one, which is being heralded as something different?  We have managed to listen to bits of it and the sound is very forward, with her piano sounding quite honky tonk in style.  It's twenties and thirties in style but not the twenties and thirties of New York or Hollywood but the bluesy twenties and thirties of the Dust Bowl and the depression. We're not sure, to be honest, but her chocolatey contralto can usually overcome most of our doubts.



2 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I'm a sometime fan of Ms. Krall's and a fan of Johnston's work, and I like these photos of her--esp. the one with the upright piano--but I don't think Seliger, or stylist, or whoever, has succeeded in making the Krall images Johnston-like. Thanks for the Stanwyck scan, too.

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  2. I'm planning to put some more pictures by Johnstone up on Venus Observations in the next week or so.

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