In support of his upcoming album, The Duke (out June 26th on Razor & Tie), Joe Jackson will soon be taking his ensemble on the road for a Fall US tour. The touring band will include Regina Carter on violin, long-time Jackson collaborator, percussionist Sue Hadjopoulos, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Allison Cornell, Jesse Murphy on bass, Adam Rogers on guitar, and Nate Smith on drums. The five-time Grammy nominee has also just unveiled the first track off the album, “I’m Beginning to See the Light.” Jackson’s rendition of the revered track consists of a medley of the three Ellington classics, “I’m Beginning To See The Light,” “Take the A Train” and “Cotton Tail,” which premiered on The Huffington Post.
The Dukefinds the iconoclastic English singer/composer/arranger/keyboardist interpreting 15 Ellington classics over the course of ten tracks, interspersing melodic and rhythmic elements of various compositions in a manner that are 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.
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.
Joe Jackson Tour Dates
09/15: Bethesda, MD – Music Centre at 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