It is an unexpected project that has sparked a substantial amount of interest within the recording industry and outside of it.
Randy Jackson, who left "American Idol" at the end of last season after serving as a judge since the very first show 11 seasons ago, has signed on to produce an album by the iconic singer-songwriter-producer Smokey Robinson.
The album, expected to be released in the fall, will consist entirely of duets, with both contemporary and veteran artists. The artists have yet to be named.
"It's my utmost pleasure to produce this amazing record with this amazing with the legendary Smokey Robinson," said Jackson, adding, "It's going to be hot!"
Robinson is just as enthusiastic.
"Randy Jackson is a longtime friend, a great musician and an amazing, experience producer. I'm honored and very happy to be working with him."
Jackson has played bass on the albums of numerous artists, including Carlos Santana, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Herbie Hancock, Bruce Springsteen and Jean-Luc Ponty. He also worked on the music for "Jumpin' Jack Flash," the comedy film starring Whoopi Goldberg.
In addition, he has worked with Mariah Carey in one capacity or another for the entirety of her career.
Smokey Robinson's name is synonymous with Motown Record Corporation. He and his group, the Miracles, helped lay the foundation for the legendary company.
In addition to writing and producing classics for the Miracles such as "The Tracks of My Tears," "Shop Around," "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" and "Ooo Baby Baby," Robinson wrote and produced for a number of fellow Motown acts, including Mary Wells ("My Guy," "Two Lovers"), the Temptations ("My Girl," "Get Ready," "The Way You Do the Things You Do"), Marvin Gaye ("Ain't That Peculiar," "I'll Be Doggone") and the Marvelettes ("Don't Mess With Bill," "My Baby Must Be a Magician").
Robinson's hits as a solo artist include "Crusin'," "Baby Come Close" and "Just to See Her."
The title of one of his albums, "Quiet Storm," was adapted as the name for a popular radio format. — SVH