It’s not really very useful of me to announce a forthcoming version of “SJI” that evidently won’t even be available until 2009. Clearly, I haven’t heard this take.
But I’ll make an exception anyway, because I’m already excited by the mere news of it: According to Billboard, none other than Allen Toussaint will apparently include “SJI” on his next album, currently titled The Bright Mississippi. The producer is Joe Henry.
Among the songs on “The Bright Mississippi” are traditionals “St. James Infirmary” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” Duke Ellington’s “Solitude,” Thelonious Monk’s “Bright Mississippi,” Django Reinhardt’s “Blue Drag” and “West End Blues,” which was popularized by Louis Armstrong. Toussaint plays piano throughout the album and is joined by Brad Mehldau on Jelly Roll Morton’s “Winin’ Boy Blues.” Joshua Redman plays tenor saxophone on Ellington’s “Day Dream.”
The main band on the set consists of Henry staples Marc Ribot on acoustic guitar, David Piltch on upright bass and drummer Jay Bellerose, along with clarinetist Don Byron and trumpeter Nicholas Payton.
That all sounds pretty good to me. In addition to the song selection (“Winin’ Boy Blues”!) that’s quite a group of collaborators: Ribot and Mehldau are both favorites of mine, and I also like Byron, Payton and Redman.