Vocal genius ‘Bryan Ferry career has consistently broke new musical ground
Bryan Ferry is coming to Proctors 8 p.m. Thursday, March 30.
From his earliest recordings with Roxy Music at the beginning of the 1970s, Ferry has taken his place as one of the most iconic and innovative artists to emerge in popular music. In his work you hear a vocal and lyrical brilliance that merges the intensity of Lou Reed, the poise of Sinatra and the charisma of Serge Gainsbourg. But then there is something extra – a verve and performance so ultra-modern that it continually breaks new ground.
Since 1973, Bryan Ferry’s career as a solo recording artist has run in parallel to his work with Roxy Music. His first solo album, ‘These Foolish Things’ (released that same year) would introduce what Ferry has described as his ‘ready-mades’ – cover versions of recordings by artists whom he admires, which he then interprets in his own style. Like all great singers, Ferry turns the cover version into a form of self-portraiture.
Bryan Ferry’s vocal genius lies in his peerless ability to merge and where necessary mutate musical styles – from hyper-stylized cabaret chanson, through classic soul crooner to hard-edged rock – creating the sheen and pure drama that has become his artistic signature.
Ferry celebrated the 40th year anniversary of his career as a singer and songwriter by rearranging his own compositions and recording them in a 1920’s style with his very own Jazz Orchestra, The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, for the instrumental album ‘The Jazz Age’. It was after hearing ‘The Jazz Age’ that Baz Luhrmann asked Ferry to record the ‘20s music for the film ‘The Great Gatsby’. This included rearranging elements of the score and also recording in a period style the contemporary songs that Luhrmann and Jay-Z had selected for the movie, all of which have been recently released on the companion Gatsby soundtrack album ‘Yellow Cocktail Music’.
Ferry’s fourteenth solo album, ‘Avonmore’ was hailed by fans and critics alike as a modern classic in the tradition of ‘Another Time Another Place’ and ‘Boys and Girls’. Quintessential Ferry, the musical mood of ‘Avonmore’ was racing, edgy, brooding, cinematic. The album’s mix of emotional urgency and darkling intensity was brilliantly sustained, in both original compositions such as ‘Soldier of Fortune’ (co-written with Johnny Marr), ‘Lost’ and ‘Loop de Li’ as well as bravura interpretations of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Johnny and Mary’ by Robert Palmer. Thrillingly modern, utterly assured, ‘Avonmore’ demonstrated all of the qualities that have made Bryan Ferry’s writing, arranging and vocal genius so iconic – tirelessly innovative, uniquely enthralling.
Tickets on sale Friday Dec. 9, $30-$90, will be available at the Box Office at Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady; by phone at 518.346.6204; and online at proctors.org.