Blue Rodeo / Terra Lightfoot, Molson Ampitheatre, Toronto ON Canada 8/20/16
Joe Jackson was welcomed with open arms at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival Main-stage
Series closer at Nathan Phillips Square last night. Playing to the first packed house I’ve
seen under the tent, Jackson took the stage alone with his piano to warm us up for the
show. He let us know right away that those that came for the nostalgia would not be
disappointed by opening with It’s Different for the Girls, from his 1979 album, I’m the Man.
On Home Town, from Jackson’s 1986 release, Big World, we heard a voice in fine form. I
happened to be sitting next to one of the original recording engineers on this track and he
could not stop grinning! Talking about the festival, Jackson quipped, “Too bad we don’t do
any jazz. I am a jazz fan if that counts.” While his sound is decidedly pop driven, his
career has spanned so many genres, it really is impossible to pigeonhole him to one
Amongst the catalog overview (nineteen studio albums!), the title track from his latest
release, Fast Forward, fit in seamlessly. On the surface his work, particularly before the
band joins him on stage, is pretty straight up and easy to access. But upon a deeper
listening you discover layers of sound giving rhythm and texture to his music. While not
truly jazz, that complexity of sound is the place where we can most easily connect Joe
Jackson’s offerings to the spirit of a jazz festival.
British singer-songwriter Joe Jackson has a career spanning 45 years, with most of us meeting him on his 1979 hit song, Is She Really Going Out With Him? or 1982’s Stepping Out. Over the years Jackson has explored pop, jazz and classical musical styles.
Currently touring his new album of original music, Fast Forward, Joe Jackson graces the
Nathan Philips Square stage at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival on Sunday, July 2nd.
The album was recorded in four different cities Amsterdam, Berlin, New Orleans and New
York featuring different musicians in each city including Bill Frisell (guitar) and Stanton
Joe Jackson’s unmistakable vocals should prove nostalgic for many of us, and perhaps
we’ll find a new favourite to associate with him the next time we hear his name.
For more details on the July 2nd show:
Watch this space for more TD Toronto Jazz Festival reviews!