- 19 Sep 19
All that jazz.
There may come a point in every artist’s career when, through lack of inspiration perhaps, they ask themselves – time for the jazz album? Or perhaps the covers album. Employing the one bird/two stones system, Chrissie Hynde has gone one better by combining them. Her thoroughbred “rock and roll animal” pedigree notwithstanding, she‘s managed the whole business with ease – wrapping an aching vocal around woozy big-band arrangements.
Along with producers Marius De Vries, Eldad Guetta, and backed by The Valve Bone Woe Ensemble, she ably traverses a mix of jazz standards, show tunes and a few upgraded pop covers. Hynde is a natural for the weary resignation employed on ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’, and lethargically drags out the beautiful melody of ‘Wild Is The Wind’, but these are not slavishly reverent renditions.
On ‘Caroline No’, we’re in distinctly Space-age-Bachelor-Pad territory, with its bubbling synths and echoing snares, while Ray Davies’ ‘No Return’ gets a blissed-out Dub treatment. Graciously taking a back seat, Hynde allows the band to cook on a couple of instrumentals: John Coltrane’s somnolent ‘Naima’ and the midnight-jungle of Charles Mingus’ ‘Meditation On A Pair of Wire Cutters’.
Without naming all the tunes, between the likes of Sinatra, Nick Drake and Rogers & Hammerstein, there’s plenty of variety, with Hynde acquitting herself beautifully, despite stiff competition from past interpretations. I’m tempted to finish on some sort of “the lady ages like a fine wine” corn, but I fear I’d receive a belt if we ever met.