Style: Big-band orchestrations with rock and roll edge—imagine Duke Ellington by way of Elvis Costello
Top tracks: "Caravan," "I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues/Don't Do Nothin' 'til You Hear From Me," "The Mooche/Black and Tan Fantasy"
Joe Jackson is in a sentimental mood on The Duke, his album-length tribute to the Duke Ellington songbook. Given his numerous past detours into jump jive and classical music, Jackson's jazzy orchestrations are hardly surprising. His choice to filter the Ellington canon through rock and roll rhythms and unexpected collaborations (including a duet with Iggy Pop), make this anything but a safe or conservative tribute album. Though most of us will prefer to return to Ellington's classic recordings, The Duke bears witness to the enduring appeal of his songs, and highlights Jackson's cleverness for interpretation and arrangement.1
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