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Costello Planning Symphony Tour, Live CD

Elvis Costello is planning a world symphony tour with longtime collaborator Steve Nieve. Dates have not yet been confirmed for the outing, which is expected to launch early in January.

Elvis Costello is planning a world symphony tour with longtime collaborator Steve Nieve. Dates have not yet been confirmed for the outing, which is expected to launch early in January.

The pair will be joined by local orchestras throughout the tour, which will feature a suite from "Il Sogno," Costello's inaugural full-length orchestral work, originally commissioned by the Italian dance company Aterbaletto, and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. Also to be included are songs arranged for voice, piano and orchestra by Costello, Nieve, Sy Johnson, Bill Frisell and Vince Mendoza.

In that vein, a July 2004 performance by Costello with the Metropole Orkest will be released Feb. 24 via Deutsche Grammophon as "My Flame Turns Blue." Captured at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, the concert found the artist joined by the 52-piece jazz orchestra to perform songs from his catalog and several previously unrecorded works. The group also joined Costello for a New York performance later in the month.

Among the offerings are versions of Costello's "Clubland" and "Watching the Detectives," his lyrical version of Charles Mingus' "Hora Decubitus" and the title track, which features lyrics he wrote for Billy Strayhorn's final composition, "Blood Count." The set also includes performances of "Speak Darkly, My Angel" and "Upon a Veil of Midnight Blue," none of which have previously appeared on an official Costello release. A bonus disc features a 45-minute suite from "Il Sogno."

"This record may explain what I've been doing during the last 12 years when I haven't had an electric guitar in my hands," Costello writes in the disc's liner notes.

As first reported here, Costello is slated to head into the studio this week to begin a collaboration with songwriter/arranger/pianist Allen Toussaint. Joe Henry will produce the album for Verve Records.