Mar 2013

The Jazz Age (CD)

Bryan Ferry is always up there at the country house cooking up some new way of delivering you the lush life, and this time he literally blows the roof off! Here are thirteen songs from the breadth of his career, from Roxy Music to recent solo albums, arranged and interpreted by a hard-swingin' 1920s style jazz orchestra, and presented in gloriously crackly mono. At first hearing tunes like "Do the Strand" come at you as a vigorous Dixieland stomp practically makes you laugh out loud -- then you realize the guy is serious. From "Love Is the Drug" to "Avalon," these tunes get sent back in the way-back machine, only to return with plenty of trombone charts, clarinet solos, muted trumpets and even coconut percussion fills. Members of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra execute this vintage fantasia, with some arranging help from UK TV composer Colin Good. Each reinterpretation is imaginatively and slyly suited to the original, whether bringing out a latent samba shuffle or hinting at the original darkness of tone behind a zany rhythm. Of course, Bryan Ferry has always been besotted with the Jazz Age, going back to his first solo album, These Foolish Things, in which he crooned classic 1930s ballads in his proto-new wave style. Even then he had a true knack for classic sounds (a knack not shared by just anybody, as one notices whenever Rod Stewart barfs up "It Had to be You"). So jump on this magic carpet with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra and soar back in time to the Roaring Twenties!

Read more
All We Love We Leave Behind (CD)

Retracing their steps back to their more familiar and hardcore-based beginnings, All We Love is nothing short of a masterpiece of an album.

Read more
Heaven In This Hell (CD)

Guitar wondergirl Orianthi can tear off a Hendrix-y electric riff, pen a catchy blues-rock tune, and sing it pretty sweetly too. For years her star has been rising, as she performs and tours with everyone from Santana to Prince to Alice Cooper to Carrie Underwood (she was even slated for the This Is It tour with Michael Jackson). Her cute looks don't hurt, but her bold, quicksilver axework is the main attraction. For her third studio album, she and producer Dave Stewart spent time in Nashville, and several of the songs have a young-country radio twang. Lead single "Frozen," though, is a fiery slice of Heart / Zeppelin style strut, with burnin' riffs and a big chorus. Take a heartfelt roots-rock trip with this sultry siren!

Read more