Kurt Anderson Interviews Diana on NPR Studio 360
Diana Krall: 'Glad Rag Doll'
Diana Krall’s interpretations of mid-century jazz standards have won her two Grammys and sold many millions of albums worldwide. For her new record — Glad Rag Doll — the singer and pianist mined the music of her childhood. Although she grew up in the 1970s, she was raised on her dad’s collection of 78 rpm records from 1920s and '30s.
Kurt Andersen discovers that Krall isn’t just a singer: she admits to being a mega music nerd ("this is like Nerd Alert times 5000"). As a teenager at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Krall made a pilgrimage to the archives of bandleader Paul Whiteman to see the original sheet music for Bill Challis’s arrangements of Bix Biderbeck tunes. Even now her idea of fun is sitting around with musicians trying to outdo each other with obscure tunes.
The ensemble features guitarist Marc Ribot and Krall’s husband Elvis Costello on ukulele; T Bone Burnett was the producer. Songs like “Glad Rag Doll” and “Let It Rain” are infused with Krall’s signature purr, giving the old tunes grit and soul. “I didn’t want to go in there and try to play the music like the 1920s,” she explains, “I wanted to play it the way they would have played it if they were here now.”
Read the interview on NPR