Why shouldn’t jazz be fun?

Back in the days when Jazz Journal used to be available in print I read an article in the July Profiles section about singer Beverley Beirne. This was the first time I had come across Beverley’s name but what really caught my attention was the quote printed at the head of the profile:

“When I first decided to do this, Cum On Feel The Noize just had to be on there. I’d been performing it in a Christmas show at Matt & Fred’s and it went down stormingly well”

For those of you not familiar with “Cum On Feel The Noize”, it was a single the rock & pop band Slade released in February 1973 as their first single of the year. The song gave the band their fourth number one in the UK, it was also their first single to enter number one in its first week.

As a Slade fan, back in the day before I had discovered jazz music, I was intrigued to hear how this song would sound in a jazz setting. I headed over to Spotify, where I listen to all potential CD purchases before committing to paying out hard cash, to listen to the album Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun. I listened to two tracks and pressed the buy button for a physical copy of the music.

The album was released in June 2018 and was well received, and rightly so. The songs chosen are all well known pop songs that graced the UK charts:

1. Cum On Feel The Noize (3.29) 2. Prince Charming (2.40) 3. Bette Davis Eyes (4.09) 4. Ghost Town (3.30) 5. Deeply Dippy (3.11), 6. When Smokey Sings (6.58) 7. Cruel Summer (3.04) 8. Pop Muzik (4.50). 9. Too Shy (2.39) 10. Hot In The City (2.58) 11. Waiting For A Girl Like You (4.56) 12. Girls Just Want To Have Fun (2.29).

But it was what Beverley Beirne and pianist Sam Watts have done with the arrangements that make this album work. The songs swing and Beverley sings and treats them with the same reverence she would to the works of Gershwin or Porter. Of course the addition of Producer Jason Miles has done nothing to diminish the overall effect of the sound and, in fact, Beverley credits him with “hear[ing] an extra element to a song [to] lift it to a different level.”

Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun is a good jazz album; it is a good fun jazz album that deserves to be heard.

The album review by Jazz in Europe can be found here: https://jazzineurope.mfmmedia.nl/2018/06/cd-review-beverley-beirne-jazz-just-wants-to-have-fun/

An interview with Beverley Beirne can also be found at the Jazz in Europe site: https://jazzineurope.mfmmedia.nl/2018/05/beverley-beirne-jazz-just-wants-to-have-fun-interview-by-george-cole/

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