Critics have been up in arms at Baz Lurhmann and Jay-Z's decision to use contemporary music in "The Great Gatsby." That criticism is somewhat unfounded, as songs by even the most "contemporary" artists (Lana Del Rey) actually work quite nicely in the movie. Even if those artists did distract from the jazzy-ness of the movie, however, one featured performer stands boldly in opposition to the trendiness of the overall soundtrack: Bryan Ferry (and his orchestra) not only completed a masterful rework of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" for the movie, they also contributed a great deal of jazz to the project.
In a new behind-the-scenes mini-movie premiering exclusively on HuffPost Entertainment, Ferry is seen putting together numbers for the film, including the lush and energetic backdrop over which Emeli Sande covers Beyonce's hit.
“Baz felt the music we had recorded on our album worked well with his film, so he commissioned us to both rearrange elements of the score and also record in a period style the contemporary songs that he and Jay-Z had selected," Ferry explained in press materials for the project. "We used the same orchestra that features on 'The Jazz Age' and recording commenced in January 2013.”
Lurmann was quite pleased with the outcome. "I heard 'The Jazz Age' and said to Bryan, 'What about if you took our themes and record them with your band?'" Lurhmann said, noting that Ferry's involvement mushroomed rapidly, despite only joining the project during post-production. "And so he becomes the ‘Jazz Voice’ of the movie. We couldn't have been luckier. Total serendipity.”
The Bryan Ferry Orchestra recorded jazz versions of will.i.am's "Bang Bang," Jay-Z's "100$ Bill," Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful," Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black," and, of course, "Crazy in Love." Those songs and more are set to hit iTunes on Friday evening as "The Great Gatsby – The Jazz Recordings featuring The Bryan Ferry Orchestra" (via WaterTower Music).