Wednesday, October 26, 2005
It's funny how great cds can turn up in your life out of nowhere. I'd heard of Bjork's jazz cd Gling-Glo, but hadn't been prepared to pay the price for an imported copy of it. Last weekend I saw it in a second-hand shop and caught it for $14. After just a few songs I berated myself for not having paid the price to get it sooner. Being a fan of jazz and of Bjork (her Vespertine album is one of my all-time favourites), I should have known I'd like this, but I just couldn't imagine how it'd sound, and was worried it'd sound odd without being any good. Wrong little me.
A simple jazz trio backs Bjork (before she went international) through songs that swing ever so breezily on the air. Just two songs are in English - 'Can't Help Loving That Man', and 'Ruby Baby' (weird how female singers can sing standards originally written for male singers without changing the lyrics, but the reverse never happens), though one of the other songs sounds very much like Dean Martin's 'Sway'.
It's almost odd how good her voice sounds on these songs considering she doesn't have anything like a traditional jazz voice. I guess that would make her an original!
Often when pop singers do standards they get themselves a huge orchestral backing and a lush production style, thinking that'll impress everyone and make them sound like Frank Sinatra. Robbie Williams and Rod Stewart come to mind.
Singers who attack these songs front on, with the minimum of backing, are usually more worth our time. Cyndi Lauper did quite well at it last year on At Last. And back in 1990 Bjork was doing it beautifully. All praise to her mighty Bjorkness!!