several years (on and off) of work, Joe Jackson's First Symphony is
finally released in October 1999. The work is cast in a fairly traditional
four-movement form, but is not "classical" in style. For instance (to
quote from Joe's liner note), "on the eve of the 21st century, a piece
which was symphonic in structure surely didn't have to be written for
a 19th-century orchestra to qualify as a symphony." Joe also had "a
handful of very simple musical themes in my head and wanted to see if
they could be developed and transformed throughout four whole movements.
Gradually, I started to see the symphony as a person, like a character
in a musical novel, traveling through four stages of life". Hence the
final form of the piece, with the movements ("First," "Fast," "Slow,"
and "Last") roughly reflecting childhood, youth, mid-life and old age.
Many people who still think of Joe Jackson only as a pop singer/songwriter
will probably see this project as a big departure. However, as readers
of his new book "A Cure for Gravity" will discover, Joe started off
as a composer and took a long detour through the pop world. He hasn't
given up writing songs or singing; he's simply revealing more sides
of a diverse talent. Joe Jackson's first Symphony is for real. In fact,
he already has plans for a Second.
Joe played all the keyboards on the recording, along with the following
WESSELL ANDERSON Alto Saxophone
TERENCE BLANCHARD Trumpet
GARY BURKE Drums
ROBIN EUBANKS Trombone
MAT FIELDES Electric & Acoustic Bass
SUE HADJOPOULOS Percussion
PATTI MONSON Flute
MARY ROWELL Electric & Acoustic Violin/Viola
STEVE VAI Electric Guitar