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Phew! What a scorcher. Demure Diana Krall has turned Roaring 20s torch singer, complete with basque, suspenders and stockings.
And it’s not just the controversial cover shot that will send temperatures soaring. Because this is the fabulous 47-year-old jazz chanteuse as you’ve never heard her before.
Forget the usual lush orchestrations, the shimmering strings, the minimalist piano ballads. Diana has stripped down for some retro rock and roll rooted in songs caught out of time.
“As a little girl, I fell in love with the songs of the 1920s,” she reveals. “Two years ago I recorded some of them in the studio by myself. But then I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the next couple of years doing solo shows.
“I decided I’d like to try something different, sing those songs without making a nostalgia record, or a traditional jazz record. I wanted to treat them as if they were new.
“So I called T-Bone.”
That’s as in T-Bone Burnett, the maverick guitarist, songwriter and producer whose retro roster most recently included the heavenly union of unlikely bedfellows Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
In turn, he brought guitar genius Marc Ribot to the table, pulled together a stellar band and sent Diana in directions she’d never dreamed of.
“I knew T-Bone would bring something unique to it with the artists that he chose,” says Diana.
“I’m not saying the original recordings weren’t good, but there was definitely more creative imagining involved in this than with the songs from the Great American Songbook that I’ve done.”
So There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth The Salt Of My Tears acquires sputtering electric guitar, I’m A Little Mixed Up steps to rock and stroll and the title track is informed by Ribot’s razor-sharp stainless steel licks.
Ev’ry Thing’s Made For Love is playful pastiche straight off Boardwalk Empire – you expect Nucky Thompson to join in – and We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye will delight everyone who bought Hugh Laurie’s Let Them Talk blues roots album.
Best is Lonely Avenue on which Krall’s croon, as silky as those stockings, soothes underlying fractured feedback guitar grumble.
Diana never looked, or sounded, better. This will blow your socks off.