Byran Ferry has gone through metamorphosis before. From Roxy Music to a solo artist and now to the Bryan Ferry Orchestra, he has always seen complacency as a sort of stagnancy. With The Jazz Age, Ferry and his band have created a ragtime masterpiece 90 years after it was en vogue. They have created an album that makes you think of F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, lemonade on a hot Louisiana summer day, cherry blossoms and speakeasies.
It’s a throwback, but also revelatory in Ferry’s quest to try new things. He has taken songs like Roxy Music’s “Love is the Drug” and refashioned it into a sultry 1920’s style jazz classic. The same goes for “Don’t Stop the Dance” from his 1985 album Boys and Girls. From that new wave sound in the 1980’s to turning into a fox trot style dance number Ferry has reinvented himself so many times I’ve lost count.
What is great about this album, as far as I’m concerned, is Ferry’s ability to cast away the rock star ethic of bigger, badder, louder equaling better. He is clearly doing what he wants to do whether the public is clamoring for it or not. Ferry has not only reinvented himself he may, in turn, be reinventing an entire genre. More times than not I have declared certain genres dead and more often than not I have proven to be wrong. Ferry has refashioned his old songs into songs that can be enjoyed by a wide swath of the listening public and in the process created one of his finest albums to date.