Dr. John, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a six-time Grammy-winner from New Orleans, will release his tribute to jazz great Louis Armstrong, “Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch,” Aug. 19.
“He’s the most famous guy that ever came out of my neighborhood,” Dr. John said in a press release from Concord Records. “He became a legend all over, for his trumpet playin’ and everything else, and he was the United States’ ambassador to the world.”
The inspiration for the project, a tribute from one New Orleans music star to another, came to Dr. John in a dream, the release added.
“Louis’ spirit came to me and told me to do something, that’s how this whole thing started,” Dr. John said. “Louis told me, ‘Take my music and do it your way.’ It was the most unexpectable thing in the world to me, to have Louis’ spirit show up like that, but he gave me a concept of where to roll with it that was spiritually correct. That made me feel very open to try some different things, because I felt was that his spirit had OK’d this record.”
“Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit Of Satch” features guest stars Bonnie Raitt, New Orleans native Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters in “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” Rhythm-and-blues singer Anthony Hamilton is featured on “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” Blues artist Shemekia Copeland sings a duet with Dr. John of “Sweet Hunk O’ Trash.” The Blind Boys of Alabama appear in “What a Wonderful World” and “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.”
Guests also include New Orleans trumpet players Nicholas Payton (“What a Wonderful World” and “Gut Bucket Blues”), Terence Blanchard (“Mack the Knife,” “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams”) Wendell Brunious (“That’s My Home”) and James Andrews (“Dippermouth Blues”). Other guests include Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval (“Tight Like This,” “Memories of You”) and New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band (“When You’re Smiling”).
“The whole thing felt pretty special, and I desitively was in a different zone for this record,” Dr. John of the album, which he co-produced with his trombonist Sarah Morrow, who also arranged the album.
“I wanted to pull together some of his hits and some of the songs he wasn’t as well known for, and make them feel fresh and different. Sarah wrote some slammin’ charts that kept everything spacious and hip. And everybody played and sang great, and gave it their own spirit.”