Only once before has “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” hitmaker Joe Jackson recorded material not his own: back in 1981, when he visited the ’40s on Jumpin’ Jive. The game-changing brilliance of that album notwithstanding, Jackson truly outdoes himself on this unorthodox invasion of the Ellington songbook. Having cited the icon’s own career-long predilection for tinkering with his songs, Jackson begins with the brazen decision to reinterpret Duke without horns, then lets his imagination run amok. Perhaps equally important, he invites along several heavy-duty cohorts, Christian McBride and the Roots’ ?uestlove among them.
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