Plus, Red Hot releases a Duke Ellington tribute album

By Rob Brunner
Updated March 08, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
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Eddie Murphy
Credit: Eddie Murphy: Steve Granitz/Retna
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EDDIE TO ROCK ”Shrek” may mean ”horror” in Yiddish, but DreamWorks Records is hoping it translates into ”hit album.” The animated summer comedy, featuring vocal contributions from Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, also boasts a starstudded soundtrack. The first single, Baha Men’s ”Best Years of Our Lives,” will go to radio a few weeks before the album’s May 8 street date. (The movie hits theaters May 18.)

”Our song suits the movie,” says insightful Baha Man Isiah Taylor. ”At the end there’s a party, and the song is a very good party song.” Other newly recorded tracks come from Lifehouse, Rufus Wainwright (covering Leonard Cohen’s ”Hallelujah”), and Self, as well as dual versions of the Monkees hit ”I’m a Believer” from both Smash Mouth and Eddie Murphy. ”Murphy is the only [actor] who made it to the soundtrack,” says Marylata Jacob, the film’s music supervisor. ”Because, quite frankly, he actually is a singer.” Guess she doesn’t remember his 1982 rump shaker, ”Boogie in Your Butt.”

HOT STUFF It’s been more than a decade since the Red Hot Organization’s first AIDS prevention themed charity album came out, but the company’s still at it, planning two new projects for 2001. First up is ”Red Hot + Indigo,” a Duke Ellington tribute featuring Mary J. Blige, the Roots with D’Angelo, Tortoise, and Medeski Martin and Wood, among others.

”Reinterpreting the [instrumental] material was definitely a challenge, so we focused on the [familiar] songs,” says Red Hot A&R director Paul Heck. ”He wrote some of the most instantly recognizable tunes of the 20th century.” The disc is available only through starting March 13.

And due this fall is ”Red Hot + Riot,” spotlighting the music of Nigerian Afrobeat master Fela Kuti, who died from an AIDS related illness in 1997. The CD is shaping up to be one of Red Hot’s best, with such wild teamings as Common with Dead Prez and Brazilian guitarist Jorge Ben; Fela drummer Tony Allen with Les Nubians, Baaba Maal, and free jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp; there’s also a version of Fela’s ”Water No Get Enemy” with Fela’s son Femi Kuti, Roots drummer Ahmir ”?uestlove” Thompson, D’Angelo, Nile Rodgers, and Macy Gray. Says ?uestlove, who conceived of the Riot project: ”It’s probably the most magical 12 minutes I’ve ever committed to tape.”


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