Ray Davies’s tunes – evocative, catchy and deceptively simple – serve his lyrics so well that it’s easy to take them for granted. By recasting them in the jazz idiom and delicately elaborating their harmonies, bassist and composer Ben Crosland brings them out in a fresh glow. He chose just the right musicians to add their solo ideas, too: saxophonist Dave O’Higgins and guitarist John Etheridge (both brilliant on Waterloo Sunset), Steve Lodder on keyboards and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom. It’s remarkable how comfortable these melodies sound in their new settings. Dedicated Follower of Fashion swings ferociously, and who would have imagined Sunny Afternoon with a reggae groove?
Ben Crosland Quintet: The Ray Davies Songbook review – a fresh glow