review = B
Donít be fooled. Duke Elegant is -not- a swing album. Not even close. Sure, Dr. John dusts off a dozen Duke Ellington numbers, including time tested classics like "It Donít Mean a Thing (If It Ainít Got That Swing)," but ironically, thereís no swing here. None. As in -zero-, daddy-o. Dr. John is much more interested in adapting Ellingtonís distinctive melodies to funk and bluesy soul grooves than faithfully following the Dukeís swing tempos. The results are mixed. Old school Ellington fans will cringe at the hoodoo guruís bass gurgling, R&B treatment of the Dukeís most beloved compositions, "Caravan," "Mood Indigo," "Donít Get Around Anymore," and "Satin Doll" among them. Oh well. Dr. John fans wonít have that problem. In fact, itís going to be hard for anyone who can fog a mirror and tap a toe, to -not- enjoy the night tripperís back alley brand of bourbon on the rocks vocals splashing around the Dukeís champagne glass melodies. The mixture is potent. Call it a lowbrow highball - sort of sophisticated with plenty of kick. Musical mixology aside, thereís just way too much good stuff here to wag a finger in the good doctorís face for funkiní up the Duke.