On this danceable hit single, a head-over-heels Aretha Franklin is trying to get her chatty friend off the line because her man is about to call. He's one of the good guys, she explains, and, "When my baby, calls I jump, jump, jump to it." This was before call waiting.
Jump To It was Aretha's third album through Arista Records after a long and mostly successful run at Atlantic. The title track, written by Luther Vandross and his songwriting partner Marcus Miller, was her biggest pop hit since "I'm In Love" peaked at #19 in 1974.
Vandross also produced the album, which was a dream gig for the popular R&B singer. He had told Rolling Stone, "I'd wrestle Bruno Sammartino for a chance to produce Aretha Franklin." Clive Davis, president of Arista, read the article and hooked Vandross up with Aretha.
Vandross was guest-starring on Saturday Night Live when he told Miller, who was playing in the show's band, they had to write a tune for Aretha. During a break, the songwriting duo tracked down a piano and started brainstorming. "Marcus went home and worked on a track," Vandross told Billboard, "and then I worked on the chorus and the hook and... sent it to Aretha with me singing it, and she loved it. And then I got to do the whole album."
There was no waiting around for Aretha to warm up. "She gets to the essence of her talent very quickly," Vandross explained. "It's startling... anybody that records her should know to have the microphone on even for the sound check, even for the first take. Because 'Jump Too It' was basically the first take." He added: "That recording session was heaven from the time the song was written."
Vandross assembled his regular stable of musicians for the session, including Nat Adderley Jr. on keyboards, Doc Powell on guitar, Yogi Horton on drums, and Crusher Bennett on congas. Co-writer Miller also manned the synthesizer and played bass. Vandross and Cissy Houston led the group of backing vocalists.
The upbeat number also has a dark side, Vandross explained: "It also has a very sinister quality to it too when you have those guitars staying on those same notes against different chords. It doesn't move so that creates a lot of tension. It's very, very soulful."
This was Aretha's 18th #1 hit on the R&B chart. It also peaked at #4 on the dance tally.