Pop Goes Jazz With Style and Cool.
When I was first told about this album I was not just baffled but dismayed that someone would think I might like a Jazz singer from Yorkshire re-inventing a bunch of 1970’s and 80’s Pop Songs. Don’t they know me at all?
Well; with hindsight….they did; and better than I know myself!
Out of courtesy I first played the disc while I was researching some stuff for work on the laptop; and only 30 seconds into opening track Come On Feel The Noize! I found a smile breaking out on my lips as I recognised one of the best songs of my early teenage years……Slade, God Bless em never sounded like this, even in their wildest dreams; but what a great anthem for the Feminist Age!
As usual I hadn’t actually looked at the Press Release or even the back cover at this stage, so played ‘Spot That Tune’ that first afternoon; and what a hoot I had.
The second song was instantly recognisable; but again who thought Adam Ant’s Prince Charming could become a late night Jazz standard with a sexy undertone? Me neither; but that’s what Beverley turns it into.
Only a couple of songs sound as if they could and should have been used in this conception; with ABC’s When Smokey Sings sounding just perfect as Beverley goes all sultry Diva as a piano gently tinkles and a saxophone drifts in and out of proceedings like a Summer breeze and the simple conversion of Bette Davis’ Eyes and Pop Musik by M intoto Jazz Music would have both made sense in the planning stages too; but The Specials Ghost Town? Surely not; but just like Bananarama’s Cruel Summer takes on a whole new dark edged life in 2018 and both become just as relevant to today’s lost generation as they did mine way back when.
Now I’ve taken JJWTHF to my heart only a couple of songs don’t really work; and even then it’s probably because I was never a fan of Waiting on a Girl Like You and Hot In The City so that could have clouded my judgement here; but Kajagoogoo’s Too Shy and even Cyndi Lauper’s Girl’s Just Want To Have Fun both sound as if they had always been intended to be Jazz songs and were only ever loaned to the Pop world.
Then; there is my favourite song here……and that’s by quite a big margin, and a song I instantly recognised but one that completely stopped me in my tracks.
Take a deep breath; but one of the shittest songs of the last 50 years, under the tutelage of Beverley Beirne really does become a Jazz ballad of the finest hue……Deeply Dippy, originally by Right Said Fred now shines like a diamond in this setting, with Ms Beirne living the words as a super-cool band take it oh so seriously in the background. Honestly.
There’s not a lot else to say; the album title says it all really JJWTHF (Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun) but be under no illusion; no one is poking their tongue out here; these songs are all recorded with love and took me back to my childhood when Superstars of the Jazz world would record Pop covers with style and grace; and Beverley Beirne is just following in those hallowed footsteps.
Released 15th June 2018