Thursday, 29 November 2012

"The Jazz Age" or why I started watching Roxy Music on youtube

I can’t admit to be overly familiar with Bryan Ferry’s oeuvre, apart from a few songs (notably, ‘Love is the Drug’, ‘Virginia Plain’ and ‘Let’s Stick Together’) as well as a beautifully haunting version of ‘The Only Face’ on one of Jools Holland’s albums.  So when I heard that he was releasing a new album, it didn’t stir much excitement within me.  When I heard that all of the songs were covers of 11 of his hits from the last 40 years, re-recorded in the style of a 1920s dance band, I was suddenly interested.

In what I think is quite a brave step, Bryan Ferry’s distinctive vocals are absent from this album, as all of the songs are instrumentals.  The remarkable change in style may also leave some of his more die-hard fans a little disappointed.  However, they should put their reservations aside and listen to what has immediately become my favourite album of the year!

After hearing the songs of ‘The Jazz Age’, I must say I did go through my mum’s record collection and listen to some of the originals, which really enhanced my appreciation of the reworked tracks.

Produced by Ferry and long-time collaborator Rhett Davies, The Jazz Age truly is a love letter to the music of the 1920s, not a half-hearted attempt to jump on the vintage bandwagon.  Bryan Ferry said I loved the way the great soloists would pick up a tune and shake it up - go somewhere completely different...”, a statement which is played out to great effect on the record.

Highlights are the joyously upbeat ‘This is Tomorrow’, the lovely lilting refrain on ‘Avalon’ and ‘The Only Face’ – in which I half expected Cab Calloway to start singing about a tragic woman’s demise! 

The album’s artwork is taken from the 1927 collection of illustrations ‘Le Tumulte Noir’ by the French artist, Paul Colin.  These illustrations were inspired by La Revue Nègre, which included among its stars, Josephine Baker (Colin’s muse and lover). 

I for one would love to see this album performed live, although I’m not sure how the show would work as Bryan Ferry wouldn’t be singing and of course, they would have to play in venues with an ample dance floor, not the stadiums I’m sure he normally commands!

The album was released on 26th November 2012 with the 10” vinyl folio set for release on 3rd December (hint, if anyone fancies buying one of the folios for me, I dare say I wouldn’t refuse it!)

 Keep an eye out on The Vintage News facebook and twitter as we will be announcing a competition to win a copy of The Jazz Age next week*.

*should point out that the competition ran in December 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment