is preparing to release has just released (June 26th) The Duke, a tribute album of affectionate covers of songs originally composed by Duke Ellington.
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.
It’s also more than a bare-bones “tribute album” – The Duke features an eclectic array of special guest musicians. On tracks such as It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), Iggy Pop stops by to share the microphone, while Sharon Jones offers her services for I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues.
Providing the backing music for Jackson’s re-imaginations is a team of world-class talent: members of the Roots, guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, violinist Regina Carter, bassist Christian McBride, longtime Jackson collaborators Vinnie Zummo (guitar) and percussionist Sue Hadjopolous are also in the mix.
“It felt a little daunting – like, how am I gonna pull this off? But it started to pick up momentum, and took on a life of its own. I got to work with people I never thought I’d be able to get, and they were all extremely enthusiastic and supportive of the project. It all came together in a way that surpassed my expectations. And it’s been a hell of a lot of fun.”
UPDATE: The Duke was released today. Listen to a couple of tracks, I’m Beginning to See the Light –
…and It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) featuring additional vocalist… Iggy Pop!