On her 2012 album Glad Rag Doll, Diana Krall covered a selection of 1920’s and 30’s jazz standards, inspired by her father’s collection of 78-rpm records. Wallflower, her latest album, takes a similar approach; this time with some of the songs that Krall discovered on vinyl while growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Krall maintains what has become her signature style, a mix of intimate jazz ensemble playing and lush orchestration, bringing in other instrumental elements and production touches to suit the individual songs. If you grew up in the 60’s and 70’s yourself, the bulk of the material here will be instantly familiar to you: there are songs made famous by The Eagles, The Carpenters, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Elton John, 10cc and The Beatles.

This is not just a set of AOR chart hits however, Jim Croce’s Operator is reasonably obscure and is one of the best songs here. Not being a massive fan of the Eagles, their I Can’t Tell You Why was new to me, even if I am near word perfect with their Desperado, also given an effective, reflective airing here. Krall’s duet with Georgie Fame on Yeah, Yeah isn’t a patch on the original but no doubt the artist formally known as Clive Powell will be glad of the royalties.

Two or three songs here do not fit the album’s overall theme: Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It’s Over fits the mood but is from the 80’s; the title track is a 1971 Bob Dylan song that remained unreleased for 20 years until it appeared as part of Dylan’s Bootleg Series and If I Take You Home is a Paul McCartney song that didn’t make the final track selection for his Kisses On The Bottom album, on which he collaborated with Krall.

There is little if anything here that won’t appeal to Krall’s legion of existing fans and the fact that these are pop rather than jazz songs will no doubt broaden her fan base even further. Personally, I’d prefer to see her trying something more adventurous like she did on her 2004 album The Girl In The Other Room featuring her own songs co-written with husband Elvis Costello.

That said, if you are looking for an undemanding but satisfying late-night listen, Wallflower has much to offer.

John Scott

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