The Vancouver International Jazz Festival
In Vancouver on Sunday and Monday
'We want to thank you for making it a special night," Elvis Costello told a capacity crowd at Vancouver's Orpheum Theatre Monday night.
"It's good to be home."
Vancouver counts as home for Costello thanks to his wife, jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall, and part of the reason the evening was special -- apart from the tumultuous response the audience gave his marathon, 32-song set -- was the news that Costello and Krall were expecting their first child in December.
"Does that make me a Canadian now?" he joked, to yelled congratulations.
That Costello felt at home in Vancouver wasn't a surprise; that he felt at home as part of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival might be.
Despite touring with pianist and producer Allen Toussaint, as well as a horn section that occasionally soloed, nothing in his two-hour, 45-minute performance could be considered jazz.
But then, jazz is hardly the only type of music on tap at jazz festivals these days. Rock, blues, hip hop, Afro-pop -- all sorts of sounds turn up, some with no jazz connection at all.
Being married to a jazz musician gives Costello better bona fides than most.
Although emphasizing Costello's current album, a collaboration with Toussaint called The River in Reverse, the performance drew deeply from both artist's catalogues. Costello unearthed such chestnuts as Watching the Detectives, Clubland and a version of Alison that included an interpolation of Smokey Robinson's The Tracks of My Tears, while the Toussaint selections ranged from a solo piano Tipitina and Me to full-band versions of Brickyard Blues and Yes We Can Can.
Thanks to the horn arrangements (mostly by Toussaint), Costello's songs took on a mild R&B flavour, and his singing was unusually supple and expressive -- though not quite as slyly soulful as Toussaint's. Still, it was more than enough to get much of the crowd on its feet and dancing for the last third of the show.