CMJ - 6/26/00, p.33
"...A reminder that he hasn't forgotten his classic pop roots..."
Personnel: Joe Jackson (vocals, piano); Graham Maby (vocals, bass); Gary Burke (drums).
Recorded live in New York, New York in August 1999.
Joe Jackson has proven himself to be a label-defying artist. Emerging from the early '80s "New Wave/Angry Young Man" milieu, Jackson has consistently pushed the boundaries of pop music. He's run the gamut of pop: from brisk, tuneful rock & roll, to sophisticated jazz/classic American Songbook fusion, to symphonic forms.
Here, Jackson gets back to basics, just his vocals and piano, bass and drums, but retains his trademark wit, urbanity and intelligence. He wrings Dobie Gray's '60s hit "The In Crowd" for all it's worth, complete with delicious blues-drenched, swinging piano, then segues into 1989's sardonic "Down to London." He wows the crowd with new reflective versions of his old favorites ("Be My Number Two," "It's Different For Girls") and enthusiastic versions of choice covers (The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer In the City," a wistful vocal version of " Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo"). SUMMER has a full yet uncluttered sound, thoroughly professional yet relaxed--as if this trio were playing after-hours in a club for a select group of friends.