Joe Jackson at The Music Center at Strathmore by Mike Spain

Joe Jackson performed a seamless mix of Duke Ellington classics and Jackson’s own songs at Strathmore on Sunday night. He began his set solo walking out to his electric piano and playing a Duke Ellington song. He made clear it was not going to be a night of just Ellington covers when he performed a solo version of his “Would You Be My Number Two?” His band joined him for a “Sentimental Mood” which Joe suggested was his favorite Duke Ellington song.

Joe Jackson.

After another song from “The Duke” album Jackson performed his “Can’t Get What You Want” and his classic “Breaking Us in Two.” Joe performed a lot of Ellington’s material in medleys. His first medley “I’m Beginning to See the Light/Take the “A” Train/Cotton Tail.” “Mood Indigo” and “Rockin’ in Rhythm” followed. However, the audience cheered even louder anytime Joe played any of his songs. He delivered plenty of his songs to keep the crowd happy including “Real Men,” “We Can’t Live Together,” and “Stranger than Fiction.”

Next was a medley of “Perdido/Satin Doll” which was sung in Portuguese by Allison Cornell. The medley really highlighted her voice. Throughout the evening she showed her skills playing multiple instruments including keyboards, banjo, and viola. The rest of the band included Andy Rogers on guitar, Regina Carter on violin, Jesse Murphy on bass, tuba, Sue Hadjopoulos on percussion, and Nate Smith on drums. Sue and Nate were fun to watch as they pounded out the rythyms.

“Invisible Man” was the next song and it was followed by another medley of “The Mooch” and “Black and Tan Fantasy.” Then Joe Jackson decided to play a bunch of his songs. “Different for Girls,“ “Another World,” highlighted the group. His regular set closed with his hit “Steppin’ Out,” and Duke’s classic “It Don’t Mean A Thing.”

Jackson’s encore was pretty wild with a tuba solo by Jesse Murphy opening up “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” which was followed by “Sunday Papers.” He ended the night with “A Slow Song.” He left the stage to a standing ovation from his happy fans.

The sound was great at the Strathmore Concert Hall and empty seats were hard to find. Somehow Duke Ellington’s songs found a home with Joe Jackson songs and fans and ears were treated to some wonderful sounds.

Joe Jackson.

Running time: Approximately two hours with no intermission.

Joe Jackson and The Bigger Band played one night on September 15, 2012 at the Music Center at Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. To view their upcoming events, check out their calendar.

Joe Jackson’s website.


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