Joni Mitchell's new two-disc album, "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter," is not likely to appeal to the "You Light Up My Life" crowd. It may not even appeal to the broader critical and public audience that enjoyed Miss Mitchell's "Court and Spark" and "Hejira" albums. But these are still a fascinating pair of records.
The reasons some people may hesitate is that Miss MItchell seems even less concerned here with (the article has a 'com-' here) pursuing her interest in jazz and third-world rhythms. On "Summer Lawns" there is a section of African drumming, and here there is a Latin percussion jam. The jazz is more clever and admirable than that which she used to get from Tom Scott, et al., and makes use of several members of Weather Report - above all Jaco Pastorius, who was on "Hejira." There is also a long song called "Paprika Plains,": which takes up a whole side and uses a full symphony orchestra in effectively Coplandesque fashion.
Perhaps extensive critical acclaim and chart-topping sales will result from all of this, but what makes it interesting and honorable is that that doesn't really matter. Miss Mitchell has so much force of artistic personality that she brings her musical collaborators into her own style of what might be called folk-jazz.