I recently read that Elvis Costello and both Allen Touissant will appear on HBO’s new show Treme. Tremew follows musicians in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. (I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it will be good – creator David Simon is the man behind The Wire.) Touissant and Costello recorded The River in Reverse not too long after Katrina, and they will be featured in Treme recording it.
While many of the songs deal with the situation in New Orleans (“Broken Promise Land”, “Ascension Day”, the Costello-penned “The River in Reverse”) it’s not an album full of anger. It’s an album made in the wake of tragedy but ends up becoming a celebration. Its an album full of swinging jazz. The horns blast loudly and the pianos bounce. While it’s a well crafted record, there’s an air of improvisation on it as well. And it also a true collaboration – Touissant sounds right at home, and Costello sings with authority and a wiseness that did not exist in younger angst driven years. It’s the sound of two legends making a remarkable album.