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Comeback of the Great Rock Poet Print-ready version

by Gunther Baumann
Kultur Österreich
September 27, 2007
Original article: PDF

Translated from the original German by Marian Russell

"Shine" and "River": New CDs from and with Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell Double-Pack: The rock poet releases a new CD, "Shine". Herbie Hancock dedicates his CD "River: The Joni Letters" to her.

Change. Luckily, artists sometimes come out of retirement. When Joni Mitchell released her 20th album Travelogue, she officially took leave from the music scene, saying that she wanted to concentrate on her painting.

It appears that the Canadian rock poet, who contributed legendary albums like Hejira and Night Ride Home, and world-hits like Big Yellow Taxi and Both Sides Now, has reconsidered and is once again active as a painter with words and music. Joni: "When I started to compose again, it was like a dam had broken. The music just flowed out of me."

The only old song on Shine is Big Yellow Taxi, the happy and yet bitter complaint about environmental destruction that was recently covered by both Counting Crows and Amy Grant. The inclusion of this song on the album is consistent with the theme of Shine as a whole, which contains pensive, even angry ballads about the state of nature. Musically, Mitchell has, as usual, crafted elegant rock sounds with jazzy overtones. Conclusion: A great album that deserves attentive listening.

Hancock & Tina Turner. This attribute is also applicable to the CD, River - The Joni Letters, from the jazz megastar Herbie Hancock, who tips his hat to the Canadian. Hancock invited famous singers to collaborate with him on the album. Tina Turner sings a very lyrical interpretation of Edith and the Kingpin. Norah Jones delivers a ravishingly bluesy Court and Spark. With albums like Mingus and Shadows and Light, Joni Mitchell crossed the border into jazz. Herbie Hancock has returned the favour by using the songs Both Sides Now and Sweet Bird as foundations for sensitive piano improvisations.

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