Elvis Costello has followed his musical curiosity in a career spanning more than 28 years. He is perhaps best known for his performances with The Attractions, The Imposters and for concert appearances with pianist, Steve Nieve. His recordings include 'This Year's Model', 'Imperial Bedroom', 'King of America', 'Blood and Chocolate', 'Spike', 'All This Useless Beauty', "When I Was Cruel", "North" and "The Delivery Man'. However, he has also entered into acclaimed collaborations with Burt Bacharach, The Brodsky Quartet, Paul McCartney, Swedish mezzo-soprano, Anne Sofie von Otter, guitarist, Bill Frisell, composer, Roy Nathanson, The Charles Mingus Orchestra and record producer and songwriter, T Bone Burnett.
Costello's songs have been recorded by a great number of artists. The list of performers reflects his interest in a wide range of musical styles: George Jones, Chet Baker, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Dusty Springfield, Robert Wyatt, Charles Brown, No Doubt, Solomon Burke, June Tabor, Howard Tate, the gospel vocal group, The Fairfield Four and the viol consort, Fretwork with the counter tenor, Michael Chance. In 2003 he began a songwriting partnership with his wife, the jazz pianist and singer, Diana Krall, resulting in six songs included in her highly successful album, The Girl In The Other Room.
During his career Costello has received several prestigious honours, including two Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting, a Dutch Edison Award with The Brodsky Quartet for The Juliet Letters, the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award, a BAFTA for the music written with Richard Harvey for Alan Bleasdale's television drama series, 'G.B.H.' and a Grammy for 'I Still Have That Other Girl' from his 1998 collaboration with Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory.
Elvis Costello and The Attractions were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. During the same year he was awarded ASCAP's prestigious Founder's Award. There have also been a number of Grammy nominations for his recent albums When I Was Cruel and The Delivery Man.
The late 2003 Deutsche Grammophon release, North - an album of piano ballads composed, orchestrated and conducted by Costello - retained the number one position on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Chart for five weeks.
In 2004 Costello was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song 'The Scarlet Tide", sung by Alison Krauss in the motion picture, Cold Mountain. The song was co-written with T Bone Burnett.
During late March and early May, Costello, Nieve and conductor, Alan Broadbent, were presenting a programme throughout the U.S., including appearances with the San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Baltimore Symphony orchestras. Elvis Costello and the Imposters made their South American concert debut in October 2005 with appearances in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires and had planned to record again in the spring of '06. However, following the Katrina catastrophe, Costello was given the opportunity to perform at two benefit concerts with the great New Orleans piano player, songwriter and producer, Allen Toussaint.
They had first collaborated in the 1980's, when Toussaint produced a commissioned version of Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice". He later provided a wonderful piano part for "Deep, Dark Truthful Mirror", a track on the album, Spike. Now, finding that Toussaint had temporarily re-located to New York City, following the loss of his home in the flood, Costello approached the Toussaint about a more substantial collaboration.
Following a short but intense period of writing they entered the studio with a combination of The Imposters lead by Toussaint at the piano and Steve Nieve playing Hammond B3. Toussaint's regular guitar player, Anthony Brown and his horn section also augmented the band.
The River In Reverse was recorded in two weeks and produced by Joe Henry. Sessions began at Sunset Sound, Hollywood and concluded at Piety Street Studios in New Orleans. It is thought to be one of the first major recording project to take place in the city since the Katrina disaster. The album will include renditions of a number of songs from the Toussaint catalogue, including "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?" and "Freedom For The Stallion".
The title track is one of the recent Costello compositions to feature a characteristic Toussaint horn arrangement. "Ascension Day" is Toussaint's beautiful minor key variation of Professor Longhair's "Tipitiina" with new words by Costello, while "International Echo" is the work of both songwriters.