added: 24 Jun 2012 // by: VVN Music
Joe Jackson is saluting the great Duke Ellington on his new album The Duke, out June 26 on Razor and Tie; however, don't expect to hear the music in Ellington's arrangements.
The Duke finds the English singer/composer/arranger/keyboardist and five-time Grammy nominee interpreting 15 Ellington classics over the course of ten tracks, interspersing melodic and rhythmic elements of various compositions in a manner that's consistent with Ellington's own freewheeling approach. Rather than emulating the songs' original big-band settings, Jackson filters the material through his own musical imagination while exploring an assortment of unexpected grooves and textures. The resulting album is a seamless fusion of sounds and styles, whose abundant sense of playfulness is consistent with Ellington's boundary-breaking attitude.
"Ellington didn't consider his own arrangements to be sacred," Jackson notes. "He constantly reworked them, sometimes quite radically. So I think my approach is in the spirit of the man himself."
Jackson's distinctive voice is featured on I'm Beginning To See The Light, Mood Indigo, and I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good), while It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) finds him trading vocals with punk icon Iggy Pop. R&B diva Sharon Jones, meanwhile, shines with a soulful I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues. In keeping with Ellington's multiculturalism, Jackson also encouraged Iranian singer Sussan Deyhim to perform a soaring Caravan in Farsi, and Lilian Vieira, of the Brazilian/Dutch collective Zuco 103, to create a sunny, sexy Portuguese version of Perdido.
The album's striking mix of electronic and organic textures is especially evident on instrumentals like Isfahan, Rockin' In Rhythm, The Mooche, and Black and Tan Fantasy. The musicians include two contemporary jazz stars, violinist Regina Carter and bassist Christian McBride; rock guitar hero Steve Vai; drummer Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson and other members of The Roots; and two of Jackson's old associates, guitarist Vinnie Zummo and percussionist Sue Hadjopoulos. The album was recorded and mixed by the legendary Elliot Scheiner (Steely Dan, Sting, Bob Dylan).
Though The Duke is a tribute album, it's also very much a Joe Jackson album, consistent with his long-standing sense of musical adventure.
I'm Beginning To See The Light
I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (featuring Iggy Pop)
I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues (featuring Sharon Jones)
Caravan (featuring Sussan Deyhim)
Perdido (featuring Lilian Vieira)
Rockin' In Rhythm
Black And Tan Fantasy
Artist: Joe Jackson
Title: The Duke
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Label: Razor & Tie
Format(s): CD, DD