Joe Jackson, Sunday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m., 1621 Glenarm Place, Denver, $39.50-$64.50, paramountdenver.com, 303/405-1111.
Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello’s musical paths have followed similar trajectories since making their respective debuts back in the late ‘70s. Along with the comparatively overlooked Graham Parker, both artists took a more sophisticated singer-songwriterly approach to their music at a time when the British music scene was still submerged in the first wave of punk. Each showed a healthy respect for reggae and pub-rock, while delivering drolly literate lyrics, undeniable pop hooks, and slowly emerging jazz influences. For the purists among us, Costello’s output tends to be treated with more respect than Jackson’s, which may be due in large part to the latter’s commercial success with the platinum-selling 1982 album Night and Day
, an immaculately produced fusion of pop and Latin music that captured the spirit of late-night New York City on massive hits like “Steppin’ Out” and “Breaking Us in Two.” Although Jackson’s subsequent output has been considerably more low-profile, the quality of his songwriting and arrangements has never flagged, with more recent tracks like “Invisible Man,” “Dear Mom” and the elegiac Marianne Faithfull duet “Love Got Lost” ranking among his best. Two weeks ago, Jackson released his 20th (!) studio album Fool
, a relatively spontaneous effort for which sessions began last summer, just one day after his band finished up an extensive American tour. American Songwriter
immediately pronounced it “good enough to suggest his best might still be ahead of him,” while old-school Elvis Costello fans likely never noticed. In any event, the album continues to showcase a major talent who’s never lost his musical or lyrical edge, a distinction to which very few artists from his era can lay claim.