Joe Jackson takes on one of American jazz's greatest on June 26 when he releases The Duke. The album, on Razor & Tie, is a tribute to the great Duke Ellington.
"I revere Duke Ellington, but I didn't want this to be a reverent album," Jackson said, but don't look for straight up recreations of songs like Take the A Train and Sophisticated Lady. Jackson is putting his own reverent but special spin on the music. Per the press release "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."
Jackson added "Ellington didn't consider his own arrangements to be sacred. He constantly reworked them, sometimes quite radically. So I think my approach is in the spirit of the man himself."
Joining Jackson on the album are Iggy Pop (It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)), Sharon Jones (I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues), Sussan Dayhim (Caravan in Farsi) and Zuco 103 (Perdido). Jackson, himself, takes on such Ellington classics as I'm Beginning to See the Light, Mood Indigo and I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good). Overall, 15 of the Duke's songs are mined on ten tracks.
Jackson's backing band includes violinist Regina Carter, bassist Christian McBride, guitarist Steve Vai, drum Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and other members of the Roots, guitarist Vinnie Zummo and percussionist Sue Hadjopoulos.