June 19, 2012

Joe Jackson: The Duke

Joe Jackson
photo: Frank Veronsky

Joe Jackson has been a jazz fan since he was a teenager and Duke Ellington is his hero, as a musician and a big band leader. The Duke is a not a tribute album in the strict sense of the word. Jackson rearranged the standards and did it all without horns (well, there is a piccolo and a sousaphone on Rockin' In Rhythm, two instruments that were never used by Ellington).

As a fellow pianist Jackson he admires his skills, band leader capacities and his qualities as an arranger. Th lyrics for most of Ellington's music is below par. He never wrote them himself and it seems that anyone who was at close hand when he was looking for words was giving a free hand. Jackson solves part of the problem by inviting two of his singers to translate them into their native tongue. Caravan is sung in Farsi by Sussan Deyhim and Lilian Vieira delivers Perdido in Portuguese.

With Amir "?uestlove" Thompson on drums, Christian McBride on bass, Regina Carter on violin, Steve Vai playing guitar on the album's opener Isfahan, singer Sharon Jones tearing it up I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues, the Dutch/Brazilian trio Zuco 103, the New York string quartet Ethel, Vinnie Zummo on guitar and Sue Hadjapoulos on percussion, The Duke serves as a canvas for each player's particluar input. Jackson outlined the arrangements but kept an open mind for different opinions about the vibe and texture of the material.

Jackson declares in the liner note that nothing was sacred when he was putting the album together. In keeping with the jazz tradtion of of never playing things the same way twice he felt free to use different moods, using bossa nova, samba and even drums 'n' bass. It's still jazz, but it's jazz mixed with the broad musical taste of fellow musician who started out as a highly regarded New Wave guy in the late Seventies. After his 1981 Jumpin' Jive covers album The Duke is his second album celebrating his love for the Big Band era. Those days are long gone, but with this selection he has given Ellington's music a foothold in the noughties. The album closes with a duet with long time jazz lover Iggy Pop - the punk legend and the New Wave cynic proudly telling the world that It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing.

Joe Jackson: The Duke

The Duke will be available on Razor & Tie in the U.S. and Edel in the rest of the world. Release date: June 26th.

  1. Isfahan
  2. Caravan
  3. I'm Beginning To See The Light / Take The 'A' Train / Cotton Tail
  4. Mood Indigo
  5. Rockin' In Rhythm
  6. I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues / Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear From Me
  7. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
  8. Perdido / Satin Doll
  9. The Mooche / Black and Tan Fantasy
  10. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
Live dates:
  • 09/15 Bethesda, MD @ Music Centreat@ Strathmore
  • 09/16 Greenville, SC @ Peace Center Hall
  • 09/18 Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre
  • 09/19 Boston, MA @ Wilbur Theatre
  • 09/21 New York, NY @ Town Hall
  • 09/22 New York, NY @ Town Hall
  • 09/25 Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
  • 09/27 Ann Arbor, MI @ Michigan Theater
  • 09/28 Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre
  • 09/29 Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
  • 10/02 Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
  • 10/04 Saratoga, CA @ The Lilian Fontaine Garden Theatre at Montalvo
  • 10/05 San Francisco, CA @ Nob Hill Masonic Center
  • 10/06 Los Angeles, CA @ Orpheum Theatre
  • 10/14 Graz, Austria @ Orpheum
  • 10/16 Cologne, Germany @ Theater am Tanzbrunnen
  • 10/18 Ludwigsburg, Germany @ Forum am Schlosspark / Theatersaal
  • 10/19 Munich, Germany @ Circus Krone
  • 10/21 Zurich, Switzerland @ Spirgarten
  • 10/23 Toulouse, France @ Le Bikini
  • 10/24 Aix En Provence, France @ Pasino
  • 10/26 Strasbourg, France @ La Laiterie
  • 10/28 Udine, Italy @ Town Hall
  • 10/29 Milan, Italy @ Teatro Dal Verme
  • 10/31 Rome, Italy @ Roma Jazz Festival
  • 11/02 Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ Melkweg
  • 11/03 Utrecht (Leidsche Rijn), The Netherlands @ Vredenburg
  • 11/04 Groningen, The Netherlands @ Oosterpoort
  • 11/06 Berlin, Germany @ Admiralspalast
  • 11/08 London, United Kingdom @ Cadogan Hall
  • 11/10 London, United Kingdom @ Cadogan Hall
  • 11/11 Paris, France @ Olympia
  • 11/13 Caen, France @ Big Band Café
  • 11/16 Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix
  • 11/17 Amiens, France @ Megacite - Jules Vernes

» joejackson.com

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