Ske-Dat-De-Dat (The Spirit of Satch)
The Good Doctor updates Satchmo’s legendary tunes
If you are going to record something as iconic as the Louis Armstrong songbook you better have some big cojones and some pretty damn fresh ideas and thankfully Dr. John has both.
The gauntlet is thrown down on the opening track What a Wonderful World which features Nicholas Payton and the Blind Boys of Alabama supporting Mac Rebbenack; who turns a much parodied Classic into a cool slice of New Orleans swing, while still majestically retaining the joy of the original.
Every song features the inimitable Dr. John singing and playing piano alongside a vast array of guest musicians and singers who each add their own unique skill sets; such as I’ve Got the World on a String which becomes a swinging duet with Bonnie Raitt who sounds uncannily like a lusty Sarah Vaughan and later the duet with Shemekiah Coleman who turns Sweet Honk O’ Trash into an X-rated Southern Soul standard.
Just to confuse the Jazz Heads out there Mack the Knife even has the Doctor crossing vocal swords with Terence Blanchard who actually Raps his lines over some sweet crashing Jazz chords.
I wasn’t aware of several of the singers here, but each one appears to have been chosen because they have a voice or a style that compliments both Dr. John and Satchmo himself. The arrangement on Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child is just the right side of modern Jazz to make it both commercial and delightful as Anthony Hamilton’s voice swoops and soars as Dr. John leads some of Americas finest Jazz musicians with his superb playing on the electric piano.
What else could Ske-Dat-De-Dat end with apart from When You’re Smiling and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band blast out a good old fashioned New Orleans Jazz Band rendition that will not only make you shed tears of joy but also make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.
The overall album is like a magic jigsaw with each track standing on its own merits but when listened to as a complete entity will take listeners into a whole new stratosphere.
Released Europe September 1st 2014