Joe Henry, the noted singer/songwriter, presides over a most unprecedented musical event with the May 15 release of his ninth album, Scar.
According to a spokesperson from Mammoth Records, a tune on Scar, “Stop,” is an early version of “Don’t Tell Me,” the second single from the latest album by Henry’s sister-in-law, one Madonna Louise Ciccone. “Don’t Tell Me” was written by Henry, Madonna and Madonna’s co-producer Mirwais.
The Madonna factor is about the only thing that could overshadow the fact that “Stop” also features the first cameo performance by avant-garde jazz saxophone eminence Ornette Coleman since James “Blood” Ulmer’s 1980 album, Tales of Captain Black.
Got that? Coleman will spray his harmolodic voodoo all over what is, in essence, a Madonna song. The closest contemporary analogue would be Miles Davis’ rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” on You’re Under Arrest (1985).
Henry’s vocals have more in common with a Tom Waits performance than with Madonna’s lascivious version of the tune.
Henry and Coleman will be accompanied by a blue-chip assortment of jazz players on the tune, which includes pianist Brad Mehldau, guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Brian Blade. This lineup also takes on “Lock and Key,” “Mean Flower” and “Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation.”
Scar also features funk bassist/singer MeShell Ndegeocello on the tracks “Rough and Tumble” and “Nico Lost One Small Buddha.”