JEZZ WOODROFFE - Led Zeppelin Swings!
by Martin Popoff
Gerald "Jezz" Woodroffe is best known as keyboardist and co-writer on Robert Plant's classic Pictures At Eleven, The Principle Of Moments and Shaken 'n' Stirred albums from the early '80s, as well as his largely uncredited work on Black Sabbath's Technical Ecstasy. As well, he's been recording, mostly under the radar and with others, for years. But if you'd like to check him out in a familiar environment, available now (see www.jezzwoodroffe.com for more; records with Quasar and Sally Hope also available) is his In Through The Swing Door: Swing Cover Versions Of Led Zeppelin Classics
"Well, it was actually not my idea in the first place," notes Jezz, down the line from his rural Welsh home. "It was a casual comment that Robbie (Blunt - Robert Plant guitarist on the above same albums) passed on the phone one day. I had done in the past a lot of standard covers albums, but not really seriously, just because, you know, my dad used to do that. He was a very famous musician in the '40s. So anyway, I got bored of those things and Robbie said to me one day, 'Why don't you look at the Zeppelin catalog and see if you can get something out of that?' And I said 'Nah, I don't want Robert knocking on my door saying, oh, hang on, what ya doin'?' (laughs). But I started messing around with them and I was listening to one of my favourite tracks of all time, which is 'Since I've Been Loving You', the way that's been constructed. And once I started looking at it, how Page had put it together, I started thinking, there's some real depth in all this stuff; musically it's incredible. So I started trying to capture the essence of the songs and Robert's voice on the piano in a sort of jazz way, something I've never heard done before, and something I've never attempted. And I found it really captivating. And I got heavily, heavily into it until it actually started to be something big and then it took over my life for about eight weeks (laughs)."
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