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The Jazz Age

4.1 out of 5 stars 231 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Nov. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BMG Rights Management
  • ASIN: B009NRO5XE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,829 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

The Jazz Age is a step back to the classic jazz era of the 1920s. By re-recording hits with top jazz musicians, Bryan Ferry has given a new sound to his back catalogue and the album includes hits such as "Don't Stop the Dance"; and "Slave to Love". As featured on The Great Gatsby Soundtrack, this is the sound of the Roaring 20's.

BBC Review

It’s not uncommon now for artists of stature to rework standout moments from their canon. Recently Jeff Lynne revisited ELO’s catalogue, and Tori Amos re-recorded old songs with an orchestra. Some deem such moves a lazy admission that fresh ideas have expired; others relish seeing masterpieces in new light.

Yet Bryan Ferry, never averse to a re-make/re-model (as his lifelong parallel career as a covers-crooner of ‘ready-mades’ has established), has cooked up something completely unexpected and unprecedented here. Not least because he doesn’t sing on it.

The Jazz Age is an instrumental set in which numbers spanning from Roxy Music’s Virginia Plain to Reason or Rhyme from most recent solo album Olympia are radically reimagined. Some are only faintly recognisable. His hits and cult items are fashioned as they might have been in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties, or the Gatsby ballrooms of F. Scott Fitzgerald (a poster-boy of doomed romanticism to whom Ferry has never struggled to relate).

Names like Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Duke Ellington will be bandied around. In fairness to Ferry, this isn’t a dilettante detour: he has always, since the time of Roxy’s 1972 debut, when it was far from cool to do so, named these artists as influences.

Now with musical director Colin Good (who oversaw the 1999 standards album, As Time Goes By) arranging, another Ferry fantasy world emerges. Such is the devotion and sincerity (and musicianship) that it’s not an ‘easy’ listen at all: the once supremely-stylised Do the Strand is now loose and freeform, while Avalon wafts blithely in and out of its melody.

Love Is the Drug sounds completely transformed without its bass hook, yet still wickedly alluring; Slave to Love becomes a strangely jaunty jitterbug. There is cheek as well as chic here. Yet, crucially, as the pining Just Like You (his most underrated song) displays, that trademark air of desire remains.

A peculiar concept then, with Ferry now, almost Warhol-like, sagely mute to one side while collaborators silkscreen his own icons. As fascinating as it is perplexing, anything but obvious, and therefore to be applauded.

--Chris Roberts

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Who else but Bryan Ferry would have hit on the idea of re-arranging a selection of his own songs in the style of the 1920s? And who else but Bryan Ferry would have done it with such panache and such a wealth of different styles and musical textures? Ferry is renowned for his perfectionism and obsessive attention to detail, so it's no surprise that he has put this project in the capable hands of Colin Good as arranger and a selection of hand-picked jazz musicians who really know their stuff. And yet you don't have to be a jazz freak to appreciate this album, all you need is an ear for truly original and exciting music. I was so captivated that I didn't even miss Bryan's voice, which is saying something. His aim, as he has said in interviews, was to breathe new life into his music, and in this he has been spectacularly successful. If you hunger for something different, buy this record! You won't regret it.
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Format: Audio CD
One might think that taking a handful of Roxy Music classics and recrafting them for a jazz band to play in the style of Duke Ellington and others was a bonkers concept. Then if you also imagine that the sound quality will be slightly aged to provide a more traditional feel to the music then we really are thinking about fetching the straight waistcoat. But my curiosity got the better of me. I like Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry. I also like jazz. Would I like this combination? Ferry lends his name to the orchestra but does not appear. Surprisingly, this remake/remodel works. I found it better to try to forget the Roxy versions and just listen to this as a jazz album. The music is good - I particularly liked the syncopated tea dance arrangement of 'Just Like You', as well as the trumpet and clarinet-driven arrangement of 'Avalon'. 'Slave To Love' is superb and I found myself wanting to play it again and again. There is lots to enjoy on this album, particularly if you are fond of jazz. This is old-fashioned glam, but it has melody, musicianship and style - a bit like Mr Ferry. Not to everyone's taste, but I found this album entertaining and fun. Recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although this may not be what one would expect from Bryan Ferry, I really enjoyed this new album. He hasn't necessarily gone for the tracks you would expect, and there's more solo tracks than Roxy ones, but this just adds more interest. The tunes aren't always recognisable at the beginning of the track, and he's drawn out some interesting sub-themes to bring to the fore, but all the tunes become obvious after a while. This album should be of interest to anyone who likes jazz, and also Roxy fans who don't mind the tunes being tinkered around with, especially if by Bryan himself. i'm not a great fan of Dixieland jazz, but I loved this interpretation.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In case you've missed it - and for the benefit of potential one-star reviewers, some of whom, I gather, have trouble reading - this is an instrumental album featuring Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry solo material in the style of very early jazz. And what a marvellous disc it is.

The thing is, it's not a gimmick, not a joke. In fact, it's a beautifully played tribute to an era and style of music that was, and remains, radical and adventurous (like the best Roxy material, really).

A first listen can be bracing: the sound is narrow and much (but not all) of the material is hard to recognise. Amazingly, as you listen, the sound broadens out and the music starts to connect. Sort of like jumping into a cold swimming pool: a shock to the system at first, but you soon find yourself floating and revelling in the feel of the water.

Get this for the material and, once you've had the taste, I suggest grabbing the JSP Hot Fives and Sevens and Jelly Roll Morton - Complete Recorded Work, 1926-1930 boxes. Bryan, I'm sure, would consider that the sign of a job well done.
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By Og Oggilby TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Nov. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bryan Ferry fans will know that he often goes through crises of conscience and artistic uncertainty, periods of writer's block - he's been known to junk whole albums of new material, and opt for an album of covers, or 'readymades' as calls 'em. I am not an uncritical Roxy / Ferry fan, but given the thirty years since the last official Roxy album, any new music is welcome. 'The Jazz Age' is an undoubted joy, and a coruscating artistic success. True, Ferry's thumbprint on it comes only via his roles as producer, and composer, but his voice is nowhere to be found on this instrumental outing. But the skill of Ferry's longtime musical director, Colin Good, deserves much praise for his lustrous arrangements on 'The Jazz Age'. One of my favourites of Ferry's earlier songs, 'Just Like You', originally on 'Stranded' Stranded is here beautifully reworked into a dolorous, stylish piece that is truly moving. Similarly, 'The Bogus Man' is shorn perhaps of the sinister quality of its original recording, but works very well in this fruity incarnation. The only thing to me that hasn't transferred too well into the 'yellow cocktail music' transmutation is 'Avalon', which is a little too jaunty compared to the mellifluous, sinuous original version. Mention must also be made of Ferry's artful way in which he has remained faithful to the 'Jazz Age' he is celebrating, by rendering the album authentically in mono, coming out of the speakers like the horn on an old gramophone. One can almost imagine the soloists walking up to the microphone to play their lead parts, then stepping back into the band for the choruses like an old-school Dance Band. All in all, however, I am happy to have this added to the Ferry / Roxy items in my library, and I think I'll be playing this often to get through the cold winter nights ahead. It has real charm.
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