This set was performed by many of the same British jazz musicians who performed on that record under the musical direction of Colin Good. Musically, Ferry and these musicians drew on the influences of Louis Armstrong's Hot Sevens, Duke Ellington's Orchestra, Bix Beiderbecke's Wolverines, and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. But they also found inspiration in the heady historical era before 1929 detailed so intensely in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Michael Arlen, and Ernest Hemingway. All 13 of these tunes have been wildly revamped and offer interesting textures: a bass clarinet and baritone saxophone are used instead of a double bass to carry the bottom end, but the music here is played so well, it doesn't feel gimmicky. All of the original melodies have been left intact, though tempos are often completely reset.
The sprightly "Do the Strand" features piano, brass, reeds, banjo, and drums all competing for dominance (they were recorded live in the studio), and swings hard. "Love Is the Drug" is played as a moaning, bluesy dirge, while "Avalon" retains its sense of melancholy even as clarinets, trumpets, and piano commingle in a midtempo dialogue on different aspects of the melody. "Virginia Plain" is a fingerpopping dancefloor jaunt that recalls flappers doing the Lindy Hop. Given that Ferry doesn't sing on The Jazz Age, the appeal for casual fans is debatable. But for the faithful, trad-jazz heads, and open-minded listeners, the musical quality -- from expert arrangements, virtuosic playing, and the brilliant concept -- offer something wholly different and rewarding. ~ Thom Jurek
2012 album from legendary Rock/Pop vocalist Bryan Ferry. 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". ~ CD Universe