If there was ever a musical icon and a decade destined to come together it is Bryan Ferry and the Roaring Twenties. The artist as creative powerhouse with a dazzling career of endless surprise, delight and innovation, and the decade – a time of modernity, decadence and bright young things – all driven on by the thrill of it all.
So what better way to celebrate and mark the 40th year anniversary of Ferry’s incredible career as a singer and songwriter, than by rearranging his own compositions and have them performed in a 1920’s style by his very own Jazz Orchestra?
It began as an idea, fuelled by Ferry’s fascination of that time between the wars known as “The Jazz Age”. He decided the songs were to be all completely instrumental reinterpretations.
‘A lot of the music I listen to nowadays is instrumental,” he explains “and I wanted to let my songs have a different life, a life without words’.
He put together his very own jazz orchestra comprised of many of the great British jazz players from his past tribute to the 1930’s’, the album ‘As Time Goes By – including his long-term musical director Colin Good, with whom Ferry worked closely on these new arrangements.
The 13 songs have been chosen from 11 albums, from his very first release ‘Roxy Music’ (1972) to his recent solo record ‘Olympia’ (2010)
“I started my musical journey listening to a fair bit of jazz, mainly instrumental, and from diverse and contrasting periods” explains Ferry.
“I loved the way the great soloists would pick up a tune and shake it up – go somewhere completely different – and then return gracefully back to the melody, as if nothing had happened. This seemed to me to reach a sublime peak with the music of Charlie Parker, and later Ornette Coleman. More recently, I have been drawn back to the roots, to the weird and wonderful music of the 1920s – the decade that became known as The Jazz Age.
After forty years of making records, both in and out of Roxy Music, I thought now might be an interesting moment to revisit some of these songs, and approach them as instrumentals in the style of that magical period – bringing a new and different life to these songs – a life without words.”