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Jackson, old band singing new tunes

He just reunited with his first band from 25 years ago, but Joe Jackson has no interest in nostalgia.

In fact, the reunion happened more or less in spite of itself. The Joe Jackson Band recorded three immensely well-regarded and influential albums - Look Sharp! and I'm the Man, both released in 1979, and Beat Crazy, released in 1980 - before Jackson split to do his own thing.

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He had said he would never play again with band mates Gary Sanford, Graham Maby and Dave Houghton, not because of any deep-seated acrimony, but because Jackson has never been one to repeat himself. So as the 25th anniversary approached, he resisted the notion of a reunion tour.

"It was originally in my mind as a bad idea," he says from New York. "I just thought that it would be cheesy, it was nostalgia and I was just resisting it. But at some point I started to think about what if we made a new album together."

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His former band mates weren't interested in rehashing the past, either, but the idea of recording a new album appealed to them. So the quartet spent 10 days in a British studio and emerged with Volume 4.

"I think it's the best thing we've done together, and anyone who thinks it's not as good as Look Sharp! would be saying that for what you'd call political reasons, like music-business politics and what's deemed to be important," he says.

What's important to Jackson is growing as a musician, and he says that has been the biggest change in his approach to music over the past 25 years.

"I think I've just matured a lot as an artist. Some of those early songs make me cringe now, to be honest with you," he says. "Nevertheless, some of those songs hold up pretty well and I'm not ashamed of them. I mean, I think Look Sharp! is good for a first album."

Although Jackson is pleased with the new record and with the tour, which stops Wednesday at the Recher Theatre in Towson, don't expect another new Joe Jackson Band album any time soon.

" ... It was meant to be a one-off thing," he says.

The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Concert

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What: Joe Jackson Band

When: Wednesday(opening act is David Mead)

Where: Recher Theatre, 512 Yord Road, Towson

Tickets: $35

Call: 410-481-SEAT (or visit www.ticketmaster .com.)


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