Photo Credit: Simon Page
Beverley Beirne is an experienced and respected voice on the UK jazz scene. She is a self-confessed lover of experimentation and has always been drawn to reinterpreting songs from other genres. Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun is the culmination of her interests and abilities, with its confident reimagining of cult classics. The record rollicks, lilts and swings 12 pop songs into jazz territory. The choices may appear daring at first sight, with tracks ranging from Cindy Lauper to Adam & The Ants, but Beverly’s intelligent composition and bravado carries these songs effortlessly. Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun has been co-composed by Sam Watts and features bassist Flo Moore, percussionist Ben Brown, saxophonist and flautist Rob Hughes with guitarists Romero Lubambo and Dean Brown. This energetic group gives the album real depth and sophistication.
This album may be fun-centric but it takes its work seriously, with ingenious instrumentation and composition. Each track brings obvious inventiveness and thoughtfulness. The opening track, Come on Feel the Noize, bridges the gap between pop and jazz beautifully, with classic jazz techniques giving the well-known lyrics a new depth of meaning. Similarly, Beverley’s version of Bette Davis Eyes is an example of this album’s potential. Bette Davis Eyes includes an exceptional saxophone solo by Rob Hughes, restructuring the song and adding new textural layers. Bassist Flo Moore shines throughout Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun, her driving rhythms and tight pizzicato giving these pop tunes integrity in their new found genre. Too Shy is another ambitious composition, with Beverly effortlessly mastering the fast paced tempo. The effect of these interpretations on the song’s lyrics is worth noting. The change of tempo and tone sheds a different light to well-known but often skimmed over lyrics. For example, in Deeply Dippy, as Beverly sings, ‘deeply mad, mad for the fun we had’, this phrase is given a refreshed sensuality and soul which was never there in the original by Right Said Fred.
Beverley Beirne’s honeyed voice appears powerful and impeccably crafted throughout Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun. Her skilful use of scat, such as in Ghost Town, complements the compositions well. Hers is a classic jazz voice, richest in her lower range. Her stylistic capabilities are well flaunted through the record. While her technical abilities are evident, it is her manner which gives Beirne’s voice real strength in this record – she sings with passion and vitality.
Each track on Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun is impeccably mastered, fresh and bursting with energy. Pop Muzik with its swinging melody, scat and excellent saxophone solos, is a highlight on the record. The paraphrased title track, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, does the original justice – bringing real groove to this sing-along classic. The album holds together well as a whole, telling the story of this musically diverse decade in history. High-quality production and an exceptionally talented band make Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun a great listen.
Beverley’s zeal is obvious in this new project. She set out to create something original and fun, goals obviously accomplished in Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun. The perfect balance of boisterous and restrained, this record hits the ground running. Whether you’re an ’80s pop tragic, a jazz die-hard or a bit of both, this record is unmissable.
LINK: Beverley Beirne Music