Bryan Ferry – The Jazz Age (rating 4 out of 5)
On of the best song interpreters on the planet, just check out Dylanesque, his tremendous album of Dylan covers for confirmation, Bryan Ferry this time turns to his own tunes to cover. Sort of a greatest hits album with a twist, The Jazz Age covers 40 career spanning years with solo material, and plenty of Roxy Music renditions.
The arrangements are all inspired by the music of the 20’s and 30’s, and every one is a sonic marvel. “Do the Strand” swings, “Love is the Drug” is a slow blues number, and “Virginia Plain” will have you hitting the dance floor. The melodies are pretty much the same, and stay true to the originals, but the real joy here is with the disparate tempos, sometimes to the point where the song is barely recognizable even though you have heard the song hundreds of times, which in this case is very refreshing.
Recorded with a band that could have been led by Duke Ellington our Louis Armstrong, the could have been the dance band on the Titanic, or the house band on Boardwalk Empire with their old school mix of brass, piano, reeds, banjo, and drums, you almost expect Cab Calloway to make an appearance. Best enjoyed while reading F. Scott Fitzgerald or Hemingway while imbibing on an Old Fashioned, or a Pimms Cup, The Jazz Age is one of the sexiest albums of the year.