Pop/Art Song/Folk / Jazz Related Soundtracks / Third Stream / Post-Fusion Contemporary / Jump Blues • United Kingdom
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I revere the Duke, but I didn’t want to make a reverent album”, Joe Jackson says of The Duke, his new tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington.

The Duke is indeed an unconventional salute to Ellington, demonstrating the timeless brilliance of his compositions while showcasing Jackson’s skills as arranger, instrumentalist and singer. Though it’s his second album of non-original material (after 1981’s Jumpin’ Jive) it’s nonetheless a deeply personal project for Jackson, whose affinity for Ellington has been an inspiration throughout his own three-decade-plus career.

The Duke finds the iconoclastic Jackson – a five-time Grammy nominee – interpreting 15 Ellington classics over ten tracks, ingeniously combining several songs into medleys. Rather than emulating the original big-band arrangements, Jackson filters the material through his own musical imagination. The result is a surprising yet seamless fusion of styles, whose abundant playfulness is consistent with Ellington’s own freewheeling approach.

“Ellington didn’t consider his own arrangements to
Thanks to snobb for the addition and kazuhiro, dreadpirateroberts, js for the updates

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JOE JACKSON Discography

JOE JACKSON albums / top albums

JOE JACKSON I'm The Man album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
I'm The Man
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1979
JOE JACKSON Look Sharp! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Look Sharp!
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1979
JOE JACKSON Jumpin' Jive album cover 4.48 | 2 ratings
Jumpin' Jive
Jump Blues 1981
JOE JACKSON Night and Day album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Night and Day
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1982
JOE JACKSON Mike's Murder (The Motion Picture Soundtrack) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mike's Murder (The Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1983
JOE JACKSON Body and Soul album cover 3.11 | 3 ratings
Body and Soul
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1984
JOE JACKSON Will Power album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Will Power
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1987
JOE JACKSON Tucker: The Man And His Dream (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tucker: The Man And His Dream (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1988
JOE JACKSON Blaze of Glory album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Blaze of Glory
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1989
JOE JACKSON Laughter & Lust album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Laughter & Lust
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1991
JOE JACKSON Night Music album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Night Music
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1994
JOE JACKSON Heaven & Hell album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Heaven & Hell
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1997
JOE JACKSON Symphony No. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Symphony No. 1
Third Stream 1999
JOE JACKSON Night and Day II album cover 3.95 | 3 ratings
Night and Day II
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2000
JOE JACKSON Rain album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2008
JOE JACKSON The Duke album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Duke
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2012

JOE JACKSON EPs & splits

JOE JACKSON live albums

JOE JACKSON Big World album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Big World
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1986
JOE JACKSON Live 1980-86 album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live 1980-86
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1988
JOE JACKSON Summer In The City - Live In New York album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Summer In The City - Live In New York
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2000
JOE JACKSON Two Rainy Nights (Live In The Northwest - The Official Bootleg) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Two Rainy Nights (Live In The Northwest - The Official Bootleg)
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2001
JOE JACKSON At the BBC album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
At the BBC
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2009
JOE JACKSON Live In Germany 1980 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Germany 1980
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2011
JOE JACKSON Live Music - Europe 2010 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Music - Europe 2010
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2011
JOE JACKSON Live at Rockpalast album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Rockpalast
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2012

JOE JACKSON demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

JOE JACKSON re-issues & compilations

JOE JACKSON Stepping Out: The Very Best of Joe Jackson album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Stepping Out: The Very Best of Joe Jackson
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1990
JOE JACKSON Greatest Hits album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1996
JOE JACKSON This Is It: The A&M Years - 1979-1989 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
This Is It: The A&M Years - 1979-1989
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1997
JOE JACKSON Steppin' Out: The Very Best of Joe Jackson album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Steppin' Out: The Very Best of Joe Jackson
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2001
JOE JACKSON The Collection album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
The Collection
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2001
JOE JACKSON 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Joe Jackson album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Joe Jackson
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2001
JOE JACKSON The Ultimate Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2003
JOE JACKSON The Very Best of Joe Jackson album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Very Best of Joe Jackson
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2007
JOE JACKSON Tonight & Forever: The Joe Jackson Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tonight & Forever: The Joe Jackson Collection
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2007

JOE JACKSON singles (0)

JOE JACKSON movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Tokyo
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1988
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Steppin' Out - The Videos
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1990
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
25th Anniversary Special
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2002


JOE JACKSON Night and Day II

Album · 2000 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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Stories and the City.

My first encounter with Joe's music was Stepping Out (From the original Night And Day) on MTV. Didn't really move me to explore his music any further. When I finally did give the the original a listen a few years later, I really started to appreciate his song writing skills.

Night And Day one is basically a New York City themed album with nice musical diversity, as the city is, and so is Night And Day II.

It's basically a tribute to the city and the people who live there. All the songs are linked together making the album a single piece. It opens up with a short instrumental Prelude followed by a general tribute titletd Hell Of A Town. Having visited there a few times, I can attest to that.

Then on to the inhabitants with Stranger Than You. You might be pretty odd personally but...

"At 83rd and Amsterdam there's an Indian Jew Who pierced all his private parts with a permanent screw He sleeps on a bed of nails Which came from outer space And in my taller tales I gave him pride of place"

It's also about finding someone special amongst the especially odd.

Why has a nice exoctic ethnic feel to the music and is about an imigrant's point of view about the odd things you see compared to your familiar home country.

Glamour And Pain has a heavy disco flavor to it. A whore's point of view/story about a regular customer. Tosses in that piano riff from Stepping Out towards the end. Lead vocal by an actual drag queen.

Dear Mom. A boy looking for his sister who ran away and became a stripper. He finally finds her and she won't come home. Your left wondering if the son won't come back either.

Love Got Lost. Lead vocal by Marianne Faithful. Washed up old rich lady's lament.

Just Because... "you're paranoid, don't mean they're not out to get ya." A bit of an angry strings tune. "Need some non-alcoholic whiskey and Giuliani charm."

Happyland. About a fire in a Latin American night club and a couple. One made it out alive, the other didn't. Joe loves doing the salsa music.

Stay. "Here darkness never quite descends." Nice mellow wrap up to the suite.

It's a bit of a spooky album coming out not too long before you know what. Those now destroyed symbols of the city in a prominent spot of the cover. The city carries on. Joe is a wonderful composer and has put together a beautiful piece here.

JOE JACKSON Body and Soul

Album · 1984 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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After presenting an entirely different and somewhat zany side of his musical acumen to the world with his wild but incredibly fun “Jumpin’ Jive” big band jazz album in ’81 and then demonstrating remarkable maturity in his songwriting with his Cole Porter tribute record, “Night and Day,” that rose to #4 on the LP charts in ’82 Joe Jackson was no longer doomed to being forever pigeonholed as a New Wave/Punk troublemaker. True to form, in ’84 he went in yet another direction. Fed up with the spiritually-challenged, somewhat sterile sound that most of the modern recording studios of that era were offering he and producer David Kershenbaum found an old Masonic Lodge in New York that had been used primarily for taping symphonic sessions, set up his band of musicians in the predominantly stone-and-wood hall and captured the bulk of what made up “Body and Soul” with a minimum of overdubs. Therefore the album has a wonderfully warm, intimate aura you don’t find all that often these days but describing what kind of music it contains presents a dilemma for me. It’s kinda strange in a semi-fascinating way. Sorta. There’s a palpable traditional jazz flavor running through the whole record yet it veers off on so many odd tangents that labeling is impossible. Know what I’m sayin’? (Don’t fret if you don’t.)

Take the opener for instance. “The Verdict” is mostly a hybrid of pop and jazz but the song’s eclectic arrangement alternates between booming drums and grandiose brass that characterize the recurring theme and the contrast extended by the jazz piano-led, smoothly sung verses. It’s hard to convey precisely what goes on in this tune. So much so that it frustrates me to the point where I can’t even tell if I like it or not. I guess I’ll just call it unique and leave it at that. “Cha Cha Loco” is easier to figure out. Its self-evident rhythm dominates but there’s a cool and rarely-found Steely Dan-ish atmosphere surrounding this cut that makes its lure irresistible to me. Tony Aiello provides a suitable sax solo and the female background vocals of Ellen Foley and Elaine Caswell add flashy sparks. “Not Here, Not Now” is a ballad that sports a light bolero beat while Joe’s emotional, overwrought vocal performance lends the track unexpected tension. Michael Morreale’s flugelhorn ride is nicely done. Jackson scored a #15 hit single with “You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want),” a catchy R&B-tinted song that cruises over a strong groove laid down by drummer Gary Burke and bassist Graham Maby while the hot horns give it some oomph. It’s fairly standard pop fare until the instrumental section arrives where Maby’s funky spasms and Vinnie Zummo’s jazzy guitar lead elevate the tune’s excitement quotient considerably.

“Go For It” is downright weird. It’s an up-tempo ensemble number that would be right at home on a Broadway stage, performed by a large cast of “Glee” wannabes. The striking horn section of Aiello, Morreale and Jackson are effective but I really don’t know what to think about this queer duck that flies in from left field. Luckily Joe doesn’t linger in la-la land for long but gets ambitious with the next tune, an instrumental called “Loisaida.” It’s a bold mixture of contemporary and classical ideas that is anything but predictable. The highly-dynamic middle segment is very interesting and the overall ambience of this adventurous piece leaves you with a sense that Jackson is an explorer at heart. “Happy Ending” follows and if you think of a less-aggressive, Meatloaf-styled theatrical song you’ll come closer to envisioning what it’s about. Having said that, the chord progression is unorthodox for this kind of over-the-top deal and the rich saxophones give it a touch of nostalgic class. On “Be My Number Two” Joe chooses to limit most of the tune to being sparsely projected by his lone piano and vocal. The stark approach works well and he presents his best vocal on the album at this juncture. He keeps it very simple until the large ending bursts in with loud drums and a brash saxophone melody not unlike what Bruce Springsteen was doing with the E Street Band at the time. He finishes the record with one of its more arresting tracks, the mostly instrumental “Heart of Ice.” It begins quietly, then slowly builds using subtle sax and flute lines before strident drums pull it to its feet and goads it into evolving into an intriguing big band jazz number. Zummo tosses in some energetic jazz licks on his guitar as Jackson and his two-girl crew of crooners inject densely-packed harmonies. It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill schlock, that’s for sure, but then nothing on this disc is.

While “Body and Soul” isn’t something I listen to very often I’m always taken aback by its uncompromised audacity when I do. Keep in mind that this was 1984 when the awful MTV virus was doing everything it could to dumb down music and its assorted lovers by forcing it into 3-minute live action cartoons for cable TV viewers to fixate on. By freely utilizing jazz inflections and colorings in this collection of eccentric songs Joe Jackson was bucking the trend towards stifling conformity and he should be commended for doing so. I still don’t know if I actually like this album or not but I’m glad I have it in my musical library. I never know when the urge to hear something from off the beaten path will strike me and this more than satisfies that infrequent yen.

JOE JACKSON Jumpin' Jive

Album · 1981 · Jump Blues
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Every music addict who willfully indulges in the lifelong hobby of collecting albums has on their shelves a few records that stand out because they’re unlike anything else in their entire assemblage. Speaking for myself, there are several that fit that categorization within the various genres I’ve become attached to over the decades. In the branch of my library where the jazz discs dwell one of those unique platters is Joe Jackson’s “Jumpin’ Jive.” I wouldn’t have sprung for one of his albums considering the gauche New Wave material he’d made his reputation creating during the late 70s but I happened to hear one of this record’s scintillating cuts on the radio one day and was so smitten with it that I knew I had to have it. Joe’s liner notes offer a fair description of the kind of music it contains. “When my Dad was my age, jazz was not respectable. It played in whorehouses, not Carnegie Hall. These classics of jump, jive and swing are all from the 40s.” He goes on to point out that songs performed in disreputable joints by the likes of Cab Calloway, Lester Young and, in particular, Louis Jordan are featured and that their music was never aimed at pleasing purists or jazz fans, just those who want to listen and enjoy. “Reap this righteous riff,” he adds. In quoting Mr. Calloway, I couldn’t have said it better.

Actually, I beg to differ on one matter. I think jazz fans who don’t already know about this album will LOVE this stuff and be very pleased about discovering it. This isn’t just a gathering of flimsy, cute nostalgia being laid down by this ensemble. That dank, restrictive label makes me think of things hokey or corny. Not so here. These tunes were hip when they were new and they’ll still be hip a century from now because they’re timeless. The story goes that Jackson had burned out trying to be a rock star and decided to do something radical. Like putting a big band outfit together to record obscure yet kick ass songs from circa WWII in an era when a market for such an undertaking didn’t even exist. In the early 80s there was no “retro” trend happening. Furthermore, in that age when edgy punk fashion was all the rage, the group picture on the back of the LP cover was anything but in-vogue. The seven white-shirt-and-loud-tie-clad guys standing in the photo look more like the nerdy dudes from your high school chess club than rebels out to deflower your kid sister. But I gotta tell you, this is one of the most exciting platters I own and it never fails to intrigue my senses and brighten my mood each time I give it a spin. These boys mean business yet they sound like they’re having the time of their lives and that aspect alone is worth savoring.

Jackson couldn’t have picked a more representative number to open with than Lester Young’s “Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid.” Graham Maby’s walking bass line drives this bluesy big band jazz piece relentlessly on this, the first of twelve very special tracks they have in store for you. “Jack, You’re Dead” follows and here the group is as tight as a rusty water pump in the Sahara. This ditty swings hard and all the horn players take turns contributing sizzling solos. Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby” is next and this is the tune that fished me in hook, line and sinker when I heard it on the radio. Its irresistible refrain is the equivalent of catnip to any jazz feline worth his/her salt and I dare you to give it a listen and not want to hear it again immediately. Joe’s subtle vibes add a classy touch and Raul Oliviera’s trumpet ride is striking. Cab Calloway’s “We The Cats (Shall Hep Ya)” is one of those thrilling call-and-response deals between Jackson and the band members that flat knocks me out. It’s the type of song that makes you feel like you’re lucky enough to be sitting in a smoky nightclub on an evening when the musicians are locked firmly “in the pocket” and can do no wrong. Pete Thomas’ alto saxophone lead is exceptionally hot.

The slower pace of “San Francisco Fan” sets up a sultry background for Joe’s melodramatic delivery of Calloway’s dastardly tale of woe. Oliviera’s muted trumpet matches the mood sublimely. You’d best buckle your seat belt for “Five Guys Named Moe” because this light-speed number will rip you a new one but you won’t mind due to your inability to wipe the grin off your mug while it whizzes through your ear canals. The splendid drumming provided by Larry Tolfree is exquisite from start to finish. “Jumpin’ Jive” is just plain fun as the boys in the band shout with glee in answer to Jackson’s urgings. Dave Bitteli’s tenor sax ride is spot on. Their rendition of Louie Armstrong’s “You Run Your Mouth (And I’ll Run My Business)” is greatness. I so respect that they don’t veer away from their goal of staying true to the essence of these tunes and their consistency in maintaining that noble approach is formidable. Jordan’s “What’s the Use of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again)” follows and the sleazy feel they bequeath upon this novelty song fits like a well-worn boot. The spoken-word sections are a little goofy but they’re not attempting to be hip, they’re just telling it the way it was in the 40s. The intricate horn lines involved in “You’re My Meat” are fascinating and the individual performances are excellent. Their raucous version of “Tuxedo Junction” is remarkable. This unusual take on the Glenn Miller standard is led by Nick Weldon’s expressive piano and Maby’s steady-as-a-rock upright bass work. The arrangement is perfection in that it allows for an honorable tribute to be paid to the original while it retains the group’s own charismatic personality that can’t be ignored. They end with “How Long Must I Wait For You.” This stellar, upbeat number is an appropriate way to bring this exhilarating train trip back in time to a proper conclusion. Tolfree’s short but explosive drum solo is a major treat and the band’s fat, noisy finale is like the cherry placed on top of a chocolate sundae.

If you don’t have any specimens of jazzy swing and jump blues in your stacks then you need to procure a copy of this album ASAP. The clever song titles alone should prick your interest! I’m pretty sure this was a one-time venture for Joe Jackson, completed in an effort to preserve a lot of phenomenal music he adored and to save the legacy of black big band leaders like Louis Jordan from sinking tragically into total oblivion. I’m extremely glad he did it because this album is a blast. Not only are the tunes terrific but the unadulterated joy that emanates from this dedicated group of musicians is something not found all that often and it makes listening to them ply their craft a delightful experience that doesn’t grow stale over the years. It’s the kind of record you could play for anyone and tell them unequivocally, “Now, this is what is meant by COOL!”

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