Want List: The Bryan Ferry Orchestra – The Jazz Age

BMG | UK | CD | 2012

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra: The Jazz Age UK CD [2012]

  1. Do The Strand
  2. Love Is The Drug
  3. Don’t Stop The Dance
  4. Just Like You
  5. Avalon
  6. The Bogus Man
  7. Slave To Love
  8. This Is Tomorrow
  9. The Only Face
  10. I Thought
  11. Reason Or Rhyme
  12. Virginia Plain
  13. This Island Earth

Here’s a project that almost slipped under the radar! Every now and then I check out Bryan Ferry’s home page… just because it pays to keep an eye peeled on this man! I’ve learned that much in 37 years of fandom! A recent trip there showed that his new album is due out on November 26th, 2012, but it’s not exactly his album. It’s the debut album by The Bryan Ferry Orchestra.  Ferry didn’t need a vintage Neumann mike to make this album, because it’s instrumental! To commemorate 40 years in the trenches of rock and roll, Ferry has cast his eye back as far as its ever been and has created an album of Roaring Twenties hot jazz versions of songs from his storied career of 40 years.

In many ways, this project seems like a sequel to his album of 1930s Tin Pan Alley standards, “As Time Goes By” that he released in 1999. This album, like that one, is co-helmed by his musical director since that time, Colin Good. Good and Ferry have created the new arrangements of the various songs, abetted by a team of players who offer takes on the songs that are not necessarily unified in their approach. Ferry wanted to sample the depth and breadth of the time period without being hemmed in to a homogeneity of sound. How does it sound?

Well, who could complain about that? In some cases, the original song was only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the jazz that served as its inspiration, as in the case of “Just Like You” from “Stranded.” And Ferry has always looked back in pleasure at the pre-rock antecedents which he plundered for his post-modern confections. So this seems to be a good fit for the artist. One wonders if there will be a tour to support this release lacking the pull of the absent star. I have to admit, my favorite Bryan Ferry tour of the several that I’ve seen was the “As Time Goes By” tour. If Good and Co. went out on the road with this, I’d certainly make the effort if it passed within reach!

The cover art is notable for being compiled from the works of Paul Colin, the graphic artist who captured the jungle thrills of his mistress, Josephine Baker as she made her name in Gay Paree’s Revue Négre. The design of the album adroitly combines a series of iconic Colin lithographs into a coherent and evocative package. The release is in the popular formats of the day, including 12″ LP, CD, and download. Something for everyone. But lo, there’s also a limited edition release from Vinyl Factory. What’s that about [other than a week’s pay]?

Well, well. It’s very appropriate that VF is issuing the album in a 10″ vinyl folio edition since that’s the format this album would have taken in 1927 with six 10″ singles with all of the songs divided between them; all ensconced in a silkscreened, hardbound folio cover. Each of the singles has a unique label and I will admit that this is a Vinyl Factory elite edition that is both admirable for the appropriateness of its design as well as the salient fact that the exact same music appears here as on every other release of the album. In other words, hardcore collectors aren’t being squeezed hard to get rare music. There will be 500 of these, hand-signed and numbered by Ferry and owning one will set you back the princely sum of £150 [$238]. ¡Mamacita! It’s a good thing I already have Ferry’s autograph, otherwise I’d feel a little bad about giving this edition the pass. If you’ve got the scratch, be my guest, but I’ll stick to the straight CD.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to Want List: The Bryan Ferry Orchestra – The Jazz Age

  1. Tim says:

    Do you follow Leif Peng’s blog, “Today’s Inspiration”? After reading today’s post I suspect that you may like it. He also has a FB page that sees pretty heavy traffic. http://todaysinspiration.blogspot.com/


  2. Echorich says:

    Gonna be the CD for me! I love the period production sound that these tracks have. I am sure if Ferry had lived in the ex-pat, Post War Paris of the Twenties, he would have been drinking buddies with Fitzgerald (and have had an affair with Zelda), whispered about Hemingway behind his back with Gertrude Stein and certainly have stolen Josephine Baker away from Paul Colin. Ferry has often seemed a man out of his time.


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