Joe Jackson Takes On Duke Ellington

Jun 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Blair Jackson


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

photo Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson

Duke Ellington was among the most eclectic composers of the 20th century, so it makes sense that Joe Jackson’s new tribute, The Duke (June 26, Razor & Tie), is a stunningly varied, genre-hopping collection. Are you ready for Steve Vai’s screaming lead guitar playing the famous woodwind lines that open “The Mooche”? A string quartet on “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)”? “Caravan” sung in Farsi by a top Iranian singer? “Perdido” in Portuguese? Christian McBride’s sturdy and inventive stand-up bass matched with synth bass? Jackson sings lead on just four songs, but his distinctive piano and other keyboard handiwork are all over the disc, and the choice of musicians and the intriguing arrangements are all from his fertile musical mind.

With Jackson also producing, the sessions were recorded and mixed by Elliot Scheiner at New York City’s Avatar Studios (in Studio C, a Neve VR room), with additional parts—such as Vai’s guitar and Iggy Pop’s vocal on “It Don’t Mean a Thing”—coming in from outside studios. “Joe’s approach to things is so different and so brilliant,” the multi-Grammy Award–winning engineer comments. “He was extremely well-prepared. He had everything written out—he knew where the string quartet was coming in, he knew where the solos were happening. He had done charts on it.”

The sessions rarely had more than a couple of players in the studio at once. Typically, Jackson would lay down his piano or other keyboard part working to a drum machine, perhaps also adding synth bass. Then McBride and Roots drummer Questlove Thompson replaced most of the synthetic lines, and, over time, parts from other musicians were added.

As for capturing Jackson’s piano, Scheiner employed two mics—a Neumenn M149 and a prototype ribbon mic from Audio-Technica. Jackson’s vocals were cut using a Brauner VM1 (Kirk Brauner edition).

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.