March 26, 2020 – 12:00am EDT
It’s ostensibly a jazz album yet there’s plenty of pop covers so the 2020 release of Standard Deviation by NYC based Wayne Alpern makes for a pretty interesting cross-over album. Highlighted by a quote from Frank Zappa, prominently featured in the inside cover of the CD packaging, Standard Deviation is hardly devious and anything but standard. Case in point are the covers of Bob Dylan (“Dear Landlord” and “As I Went Out One Morning”, both from 1968’s John Wesley Harding) that lend themselves well to Wayne’s world.. Played in a jazzy instrumental style, both of those tracks offer a good flavor of Standard Deviation. With Wayne as the producer / arranger, Standard Deviation features a range of musicians adding in strings, horns, keys and more. The drumming sound of Nathan Ellman-Bell is superbly recorded. In addition to the Dylan remakes, other covers here of The Zombies, The Temptations, Bobbie Gentry, The Four Seasons, Michael Jackson, Journey and modern era artists like Gotye and Katy Perry add further sonic splendor to this very unusual, yet much welcome album. On Standard Deviation, Wayne Alpern takes the pop classics of the past and make them his own on this intriguing contemporary jazz album of instrumental music magic.