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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Catalogue

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
Bryan Ferry invests considerable time and energy in cover albums (he should, considering that they compose a good portion of his solo catalog), treating them with as much care as a record of original material. He's always found ways to radically reinvent the songs he sings, so it's easy to expect that his collection of pop standards, As Time Goes By, would re-imagine the familiar. Instead, As Time Goes By is his first classicist album, containing non-ironic, neo-traditionalist arrangements of songs associated with the '30s. That doesn't mean it's a lavish affair, dripping with lush orchestras -- it's considerably more intimate than that. Even when strings surface, they're understated, part of a small live combo that supports Ferry throughout the record. He's made the music as faithful to its era as possible, yet instead of rigidly replicating the sounds of the '30s, he's blended Billie Holiday, cabaret pop, and movie musicals into an evocative pastiche. Ferry is at his best when he's exploring the possibilities within a specific theory or concept; with As Time Goes By, he eases into these standards and old-fashioned settings like an actor adopting a new persona. Since Ferry has always been a crooner, the transition is smooth and suave. He makes no attempt to alter his tremulous style, yet it rarely sounds incongruous -- he may sound a little vampirish on "You Do Something to Me," but that's the rare case where he doesn't seamlessly mesh with his romantic, sepia-toned surroundings. On the surface, it may seem like a departure for Ferry, but in the end, it's entirely of a piece with his body of work. True, it may not be a major album in the scheme of things, but it's easy to be seduced by its casual elegance. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
There are two headlines for Olympia, Bryan Ferry’s 13th solo album. The first is that it’s Ferry’s first collection of primarily original material since 1994’s Mamouna -- of the ten songs only Tim Buckley's “Song to the Siren” and Traffic's "No Face, No Name, No Number" are from another author -- the second is that among the many collaborators here are Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, and Andy MacKay, all original members of Roxy Music, their presence suggesting a return to the chilly art of Roxy’s earliest records. Neither headline tells the real story: Olympia is Ferry’s most seductive album since Avalon, a luxurious collection of softly stylized sophistication. Instead of pushing into new territory, Ferry focuses on refinement, polishing his signatures -- primarily songs so slow they seem to float, and also the occasional high-end piece of pristine pop-funk -- until they’re seamless, the textures shifting so subtly that when the chorus of “Heartache by Numbers” turns eerie, the change in atmosphere is almost subliminal. Such command of mood is a tell-tale sign of a quiet perfectionist, but Olympia doesn’t feel fussy; it’s unruffled and casually elegant, its pleasing familiarity reflecting the persistence of an old master honing his craft. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Vocal Jazz - Released November 30, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

Bryan Ferry is the ultimate dandy, the singer that never gets old and who does as he pleases. The former boss of the flamboyant, decadent and glamourous Roxy Music has a profound passion for jazz, and particularly jazz from the ‘20s and ‘30s. He released his first solo album in 1977, These Foolish Things, then in 1999 the magical and charmingly old-fashioned As Time Goes By, and three years later he brought us his vision of The Jazz Age, both instrumental and vocal, of the aromas of Cotton Club, the legendary dancing of Harlem during the Prohibition and anthems from the Roaring Twenties. The dandy Ferry revisits this sepia-coloured jazz with a unique and timeless elegance thanks to his slightly husky, velvety voice. Bitter-Sweet journeys through the past, both in his vocals and instrumentals, sometimes swinging, sometimes melancholic, set in the ambiance of another era. His inspiration this time came from the German TV series Babylon Berlin based on detective novels by Volker Kutscher set in the 1920’s - the ideal setting for a blend of jazz, ragtime and blues. He revisits old songs from his solo albums and from Roxy Music (While My Heart is Still Beating and Dance Away) surrounded by expert musicians from his Bryan Ferry Orchestra. The ex-Roxy is an elegant, stylish and top-class performer - it’s hard not to get caught up in his travel through time. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | EG Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Having at last laid Roxy to bed with its final, intoxicatingly elegant albums, Ferry continued its end-days spirit with his own return to solo work. Dedicated to Ferry's father, Boys and Girls is deservedly most famous for its smash single "Slave to Love." With a gentle samba-derived rhythm leading into the steadier rock pace of the song, it's '80s Ferry at his finest, easy listening without being hopelessly soporific. As a whole, Boys and Girls fully established the clean, cool vision of Ferry on his own to the general public. Instead of ragged rock explosions, emotional extremes, and all that made his '70s work so compelling in and out of Roxy, Ferry here is the suave, debonair if secretly moody and melancholic lover, with music to match. Co-producer Rhett Davies, continuing his role from the latter Roxy albums, picks up where Avalon left off right from the slinky opening grooves of "Sensation." The range of people on the album is an intriguing mix, from latterday Roxy members like Andy Newmark and Alan Spenner to avid Roxy disciples like Chic's Nile Rodgers. Everyone is subordinated to Ferry's overall vision, and as a result there's not as much full variety on Boys and Girls as might be thought or hoped. The album's biggest flaw is indeed that it's almost too smooth, with not even the hint of threat or edge that Ferry once readily made his own. As something that's a high cut above the usual mid-'80s yuppie smarm music, though, Boys and Girls remains an enjoyable keeper that has aged well. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Virgin Records

The greatest -- indeed, only -- irony of Bryan Ferry's 2007 album-long tribute to the Bard is that Dylanesque never sounds "Dylanesque." There are no solo acoustic guitars, no swirling organs, no thin, wild mercury music, nothing that suggests any of the sounds typically associated with Bob Dylan. No, Dylanesque sounds Ferry-esque: careful, precise, elegant, so casually sophisticated it sometimes borders on the drowsy. There are no new wrinkles, then, apart from a small but crucial one -- unlike his other records, this was recorded quickly, over the course of a week with his touring band in tow. This does give Dylanesque a comparatively loose, off-the-cuff feel, which is a bit of a welcome relief after several decades of cautious, deliberate conceptual albums, and gives the album its understated charm. Since Ferry never radically reinvents the songs -- apart from the sleek, sly propulsion of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and a spare, haunting piano-and-strings version of "Positively Fourth Street" -- this is an album where all the pleasures lay in the subtleties, whether it's how Ferry phrases his delivery, how his road band feels supple yet muscular, how Eno electronically enhances a few tracks or how Robin Trower tears into "All Along the Watchtower." These are the details to savor upon repeated listens, but upon that first spin it's immediately apparent that the Ferry who made Dylanesque is an assured, relaxed vocalist who isn't sweating the specifics, he's simply singing songs with a band that offers sympathetic support. They may not push him, the way that Roxy did in its prime, nor does this have the meticulous ambition of his original work, but again, that's the charm of this album: Ferry has never felt quite so comfortable as he does here, and if that may not be exactly what all listeners are looking for when they listen to his work, this is the quality that will make Dylanesque a small understated gem for certain segments of his die-hard fans. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1986 | EG Records

It may seem that the same Best of Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry keeps being reissued under different names, first Street Life in 1986 and then More Than This in 1999, because in a way it is. More Than This shares no less than 15 tracks with the 20-track Street Life. Instead of giving time to the great, arty side of Roxy Music, it concentrates on Bryan Ferry the crooner, which means "Pyjamarama" and "Do the Strand" are no longer here, but such latter-day solo cuts as "Don't Stop the Dance," "Kiss and Tell," and "I Put a Spell on You" (all not on Street Life) are, along with "I'm in the Mood for Love," a "preview" of his standards album As Time Goes By, which was released just a week after More Than This. All this track shuffling doesn't result in a radically different collection, though it is one that is slightly worse than its predecessor, since it doesn't really do Roxy justice. If it had been assembled as a collection of Ferry's solo material, it might have been a little more useful (then again, the casual fan who would buy a collection of Ferry hits would probably want the latter-day Roxy singles, since Ferry just didn't have that many hits on his own), but as it stands, More Than This is just an acceptable, entertaining sampler. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Much like his contemporary David Bowie, Ferry consolidated his glam-era success with a covers album, his first full solo effort even while Roxy Music was still going full steam. Whereas Bowie on Pin-Ups focused on British beat and psych treasures, Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name. Just about everyone in Roxy Music at the time helped out on the album -- notable exceptions being Andy Mackay and Brian Eno. The outrageous take on Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," with Ferry vamping over brassy female vocals, sets the tone for things from the start. All this said, many of the covers aim for an elegant late-night feeling not far off from the well-sculpted Ferry persona of the '80s and beyond, though perhaps a touch less bloodless and moody in comparison. In terms of sheer selection alone, meanwhile, Ferry's taste is downright impeccable. There's Leiber & Stoller via Elvis' "Baby I Don't Care," Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" (with narrative gender unchanged!), Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears," and more, all treated with affection without undue reverence, a great combination. Ferry's U.K. background isn't entirely ignored, though, thanks to two of the album's best efforts -- the Beatles' "You Won't See Me" and the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." Throughout Ferry's instantly recognizable croon carries everything to a tee, and the overall mood is playful and celebratory. Wrapping up with a grand take on "These Foolish Things" itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

As Roxy approached its mid- to late-'70s hibernation, Ferry came up with another fine solo album, though one of his most curious. With Thompson and Wetton joined by U.K. journeyman guitarist Chris Spedding, Ferry recorded an effort that seemed as much of a bit of creative therapy as it was music for its own sake. On the one hand, he followed the initial formula established for his solo work, looking back to earlier rock, pop, and soul classics with gentle gusto. The title track itself, a cover of the fluke Wilbert Harrison '60s hit, scored Ferry a deserved British hit single, with great sax work from Chris Mercer and Mel Collins and a driving, full band performance. Ferry's delivery is one of his best, right down to the yelps, and the whole thing chugs with post-glam power. Other winners include the Everly Brothers' "The Price of Love" and the Beatles' "It's Only Love," delivered with lead keyboards from Ferry and a nice, full arrangement. On the other hand, half of the album consisted of Ferry originals -- but, bizarrely, instead of creating wholly new songs, he re-recorded a slew of earlier Roxy classics. Fanciful fun or exorcising of past demons? It's worth noting that most of the songs come from the Eno period of the band, and consequently the new versions stear clear of the sheer chaos he brought to the original Roxy lineup. As it is, the end results are still interesting treats -- "Casanova" exchanges the blasting stomp of the original for a slow, snaky delivery that suggests threat without sounding too worried about it. "Re-Make/Re-Model," meanwhile, turns downright funky without losing any of its weird lyrical edge. Others have subtler differences, as when the stark, stiff midsection of "Sea Breezes" becomes a looser, slow jam. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | Virgin

Frantic manages to touch upon virtually every musical style of Bryan Ferry's career. Ferry has proved to be as interested in covering other artists' material as penning original songs, and he straddles a smart mix of originals and covers here. Two brilliant Bob Dylan songs appear among the opening tracks: "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" sees a return to the eclectic, energetic experimentation of Ferry's early albums with Roxy Music as a lush modern swirl of instruments mingles with the singer's stylized vocals and throwback harmonica; "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" completes the Dylan pair, as Ferry intones with confidence and again takes up harmonica over Colin Good's rolling piano. The reverent Leadbelly cover "Goodnight Irene" reimagines Ferry as a kind of blues troubadour. "One Way Love" sees the Drifters' song reworked as a squall of distorted guitars and keyboards. Almost half of Frantic's songs originated from late-'90s sessions with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, and Stewart is given a co-writer credit for these songs. Though the Stewart songs tend to favor edginess over songwriting, a few of them manage to break through the bombast. "Goddess of Love" is probably the best song about Marilyn Monroe since Kitchens of Distinction's "When in Heaven," and there's a passing musical resemblance to that great song. "Hiroshima" works like an ominous take on Roxy Music's synth-heavy Avalon period, with raging guitar dynamics contributed by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. Roxy Music fans will find more reasons to rejoice with the superb album closer, "I Thought," which was co-written with Brian Eno, who sings backing vocals and plays keyboards. Some listeners might suggest that an album this varied has an identity crisis, but with standout tracks as glorious as the Dylan covers and the Eno closer, Frantic is a fascinating addition to Bryan Ferry's accomplished discography. ~ Tim DiGravina
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | EG Records

When Jerry Hall, front-cover model on Roxy's Siren, left Ferry for Mick Jagger, his response was this interesting album, not a full success but by no means a washout. In part Ferry returned to the model of his solo work before In Your Mind, with half the tracks being covers of rock and soul classics. Thus, Sam and Dave's "Hold On (I'm Coming)," Al Green's "Take Me to the River" (which arguably sounds like a strong influence on Talking Heads' near contemporaneous version) and even the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On," among others, take a bow. Unfortunately Ferry's backing performers, mostly drawing on studio pros like Waddy Wachtel, don't seem to have the real affinity for the material like his earlier solo-effort cohorts did. If anything, though, there's also the sense of Ferry channeling his romantic gloom through a number of the songs, giving them a strong personal bite. The guitar and bass-only version of the traditional folk tune "Carrickfergus" works best of all, its lovelorn sentiments and slow pace connecting just right. As for Ferry's originals, his sentiments are all the more clear, right from the abbreviated charge of the opening "Sign of the Times," its fractured sentiments of disturbed, vicious romance matched by the clipped punch of the music and Ferry's own brisk delivery. The other originals don't cut quite so bloodily, but the sense of loss and confusion is all there, from the opening line "Well I rush out blazin'/My pulse is racin'" on "Can't Let Go" to the lonely sense of mystery on "This Island Earth," the album's conclusion. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Another Time, Another Place isn't as immediately thrilling as Ferry's solo debut, but still is a great listen. The same core band that backed Ferry up on the earlier record stays more or less in place here. If, like Roxy over the years, this collection is a touch less frenetic at points in comparison to Ferry's earlier solo stab, the opening blast through "The 'In' Crowd" doesn't show it. Porter's guitar rips along as intensely as Phil Manzanera's can, and the whole thing makes Dobie Gray's original take seem pretty tame. Beyond that, things will be familiar to anyone who's heard These Foolish Things -- same general atmosphere, same overall approach of Ferry taking classic originals and putting his own proto-lounge-lizard stamp on them, mixing energetic versions with far calmer ones. A very intriguing development is his inclusion of efforts from up-and-coming country writers and singers -- thus, a loud and groovy cover of "Funny How Time Slips Away" by Willie Nelson and another of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Other country atmospheres slip in here and there via another nod to Elvis ("Walk a Mile in My Shoes," originally by Joe South), while other classics get tapped with versions of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and Sam Cooke's "(What A) Wonderful World." The album as a whole feels a touch more formal than its predecessor, but Ferry and company, plus various brass and string sections, turn on the showiness enough to make it all fun. A harbringer of solo albums to come appears at end -- the title track, a Ferry original. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | EG Records

With Roxy Music set aside for the time being, Ferry took the solo plunge with an album of totally original material. As such, the underrated In Your Mind makes a logical follow-on from Roxy's Siren, especially since usual suspects -- Thompson, Manzanera, Wetton, and many more -- assist him in the brief eight-song effort. While lacking early Roxy's long-gone freakouts In Your Mind still burns more fiercely than both the later solo and group albums, at least on certain tracks - like Siren, it balances between rockier and smoother paths, most often favoring the former. Ferry's lyrics remain in his own realm of intelligent, romantic dissipation, and are some of his best efforts. The strong opener "This Is Tomorrow" starts with Ferry and keyboards before moving into a big, chugging full band arrangement and a wistful chorus: "This is tomorrow callin'/Wish you were here." When Ferry aims for a calmer mood, rather than stripped-down melancholia, he lets everyone play along. Sometimes the arrangements almost swamp the songs, but "One Kiss'" combination of female backing vocals, sax, and straight-up rock for instance, make it a great woozy, end-of-the-night singalong before the bars close. There are a few blatant misfires -- "Tokyo Joe" has the chugging, dark funk/rock beat down cold, but the lyrics play around too much with Asian stereotypes (and let's not mention the opening gong and all too obvious attempts at "atmosphere" via the strings). On balance, though, In Your Mind remains the secret highlight of Ferry's musical career, an energetic album that would have received far more attention as a full Roxy release. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Records

Jazz - Released October 26, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Jazz - Released October 26, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Records

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Dance - Released January 1, 1985 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released November 11, 2014 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

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Bryan Ferry in the magazine
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