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by Ian MacDonald
January 2003


Joni looks back with a symphony orchestra

Following the orchestral enterprise of 2000’s BOTH SIDES NOW, Mitchell’s latest album, a two-CD set that encompasses the full span of her 32-year career, employs a 70-piece orchestra plus a number of top-flight jazz soloists in support of her voice. The arrangements, by longtime collaborator Vince Mendoza, are ambitious and richly textured, producing work that rewards repeated listening. Although there’s no explicit valedictory aspect to this project, there’s a melancholy sense of a whole era passing away in these reflective performances.

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