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Joe Jackson Discovers The Power Of Three

Of the Oakland Press

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Joe Jackson says that working in a trio format for latest album, “Rain,” came from a long-held desire “to see...how big a sound can you get from the absolute minimum resources, and just how much can you do with that?

“It turns out to be quite a lot, actually.”

Jackson worked on “Rain” with the rhythm section from his original Joe Jackson Band — bassist Graham Maby and drummer Dave Houghton. The group recorded it in Berlin, where Jackson now resides (with places in London and New York as well), and he says that the smaller ensemble put more pressure on his songwriting.

“I felt like I had to write songs that are sort of bullet-proof in the sense you could play them with just a piano and they still work,” explains Jackson, who recorded one of the “Rain” songs — the aptly titled “Solo (So Low)” — himself.

“That’s just become intriguing to me in the last few years. Working with three people, the arrangements were just as demanding if not moreso than when (he had more players),” adds Jackson, who’s also written music for “Stoker,” a musical about “Dracula” author Bram Stoker. “When you strip things down to, in this case, just three players, I think that space actually makes a bigger sound. I’ve started to really feel like this is a big band.”

Joe Jackson performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (April 20) at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $40 and $34.50. Call (734) 668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.

Web Site: www.michtheater.org

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