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The Jazz Age

4.2 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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The Jazz Age
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Audio CD, February 12, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

2013 album from legendary Rock/Pop vocalist Bryan Ferry best known as the frontman for Roxy Music. 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 catalog and the album includes hits such as "Don't Stop the Dance" and "Slave to Love".
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BMG Rights Management
  • ASIN: B00AJLHUAS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,979 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is an album of 13 of Roxy's & Ferry's solo tracks done in the style of the Duke Ellington 20's Jungle Band, & in my opinion it's the album of the year.

This is EVERYTHING Joe Jackson's lame Ellington tribute wasn't. This truly sounds like 20's Duke. If you're a 20's & early 30's jazz fan, my initial take is this is awesome! (Though I have no clue what Ferry has to do with it other than being the song writer). While there are no DE songs here, stylistically it's very close; even the production values imitate 1920's recordings.

As an example of the music, picture Ellington's East St Louis Toodle-oo (DE's original version, not Steely Dan's wonderful cover) with the melody from Love is The Drug. And it TOTALLY works!

Really highly recommended & a huge surprise. I don't know if a non Roxy
fan would enjoy it as much as I do, but just using my ears I don't
recognize 80% of the songs as Roxy anyways as most are so changed.
This is miles better than anything I've heard from current revivalists on the indy labels.
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Format: Audio CD
I've always thought that Bryan Ferry was born decades too late. His silky baritone would have been perfectly suited for the golden age of crooners in the 1930s and 1940s and it's clear his singing style was influenced by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and others. His 1970s era solo records however would put an odd camp spin on songs from the Great American Songbook and so at times you were never certain if this embrace of earlier music was sincere or not. Throughout his career Ferry has dipped into other songwriters catalogues and served up some truly memorable discs including As Time Goes By and Dylanesque. With "The Jazz Age" Ferry opts for this approach with his own back catalogue of Roxy Music and his solo work, but gives it a couple novel twists. First off, it's done as if performed by a 1920s or 1930s era jazz band, complete with the orchestrations of that earlier era, and secondly, it's only instrumentals, no vocals, hence the moniker of the Bryan Ferry Orchestra. At first the idea of taking well known Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry songs and reworking them as 1920s jazz sounds a bit unusual but it works quite well. The entire Roxy Music catalog evoked the sort of careworn decadence of Weimar Germany anyhow; why not take it to its ultimate expression? An odd turn for Ferry is hardly unheard of as his solo career has been full of diversions and trying on new genres like a wardrobe change. I can't say I'm surprised at this endeavor as he certainly hinted at it with the DVD ...Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The previous reviewer who one-starred this jewel while professing to be an audiophile has made me wonder: would a cinephile pan Woody Allen's "Manhattan" because it was filmed in black and white? I hope not. Moreover, this release is so well recorded that no true audiophile should diss it.

OK, well. I love Bryan Ferry. He launched his career with Roxy Music and immediately launched a parallel solo career by reworking (mostly) other people's songs, with results ranging from mundane ("Taxi") to sublime ("Song to the Siren," "The 'In' Crowd," "Like a Hurricane," for example). "The Jazz Age" brings Ferry's career full circle, as he has reworked his own songs into 1920s hot jazz stunners.

This is the first release in Ferry's 40+ year career on which he does not perform. No worries, fans: Bryan's hand is firmly on the throttle throughout, and the result is perhaps his most groundbreaking release ever.

No, this is not a geriatric tribute to music long since passed. Rather, "The Jazz Age" is an unprecedented reinterpretation of 13 Ferry originals as if they had been debuted in America circa 1925. To console the audiophile who sparked this review: relax, dude. Ferry made "The Jazz Age" monaural on purpose. He recorded it on 1920s-era equipment. One channel. That is why it sounds like genuine hot jazz, not like some sterile (though reverent) exhumation of music long since passed.

Tell me another artist who could have turned his/her new wave catalog into genuinely hot jazz instrumentals. Go ahead, I dare ya.

I suppose that people who dislike hot jazz will not change their minds because of this album. No problem, folks: go with God.
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3 Comments 34 of 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
This release comes, as Ferry might put it, from "out of the blue." It's an intriguing and perhaps bold move that has, I think, mixed results. First of all, whatever else this album may be, it is NOT musically comparable to the virtuosity of Duke Ellington's Washingtonians, or other early jazz legends as some reviewers claim. The arrangement of Love Is The Drug, is clearly modeled on tunes like East St. Louis Toodle-oo--as one reviewer points out. But there's no comparing the respectable retro soloists in The Bryan Ferry Orchestra (with Alan Barnes and other British jazz musicians) to Bubber Miley's plunger-muted trumpet work on the aforementioned Duke classic. Other songs, such as This Is Tomorrow, seem to emulate Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives. It even kicks off with a lone trumpet intro that nods directly to the classic intro to West End Blues. The remainder of the song comes off a bit like an uptempo Hot Fives tune. But the bottom line regarding these comparisons is that there's just no way to recreate the inspired melting pot of virtuosos and creative geniuses that coalesced in the Harlem of the 1920s. Legends like Duke, Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Bessie Smith,Earl Hines, King Oliver and all the others can be admired from a distance, but never really imitated convincingly. For a tribute to Duke, I would recommend The Vienna Art Orchestra's versions which don't try to imitate the originals as much as breathe new life into them.

Nevertheless, it is very interesting to see how these old Roxy and solo Ferry faves sound when they are processed through retro 20s style jazz as instrumentals. My opinion is that some work much better than others.
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