Joni Mitchell wants to tell us where her new home is. She is an artist who has just completed a transition from folk-rock queen to jazz-rock engenue [sic], and her twelth [sic] album, "Shadows and Light", portrays her in concert, playing her old songs in a new fashion.
She be-bops her way through her old tunes - "Free Man in Paris" and "In France They Kiss on Main Street" - still make you feel as if you have just reached the top of the highest mountain, while "Woodstock" and "Coyote" still have that same honest search for freedom..."Can I Walk Beside You?"
Mitchell's back-up includes the Persuasions on vocals and members of "The Pat Metheny Group". Joni picked the right people; her sidemen know how to play progressive jazz. Pat Metheny (guitar) and Don Alias (Drums) deliver flawless solos, and sidemen Lyle Mays (keyboards), - Jaco Pastorius (bass) and Michael Brecker (sax) complement Joni like no-one since her days with Tom Scott and "The L.A. Express". The Persuasions provide great back-up, expecially [sic] on Joni's "Get up and Dance with Me", an emulation of Frankie Lymon's "Why do Fools Fall in Love?"
Joni will never lose her true fans, but she probably won't get any new ones due to this album. Her jazz singing is fine, but songs like "Amelia", "Furry Sings the Blues" and "Hejira", won't capture any attention for her. They make you tired. You can't stay awake long enough to figure out the message.
This two record set is for Jazz lovers and for Mitchell fans who have been with her since "Song to a Seagull" and have stayed with her through her scuffling days, her rise to the top, and her days of criticism when she was being knocked for following her instincts. The listener must realize that this is a totally new way of doing things for Joni, and that this album is as honest as "Blue" was. Stephen Stills said, "When you fall for Joan, you fall all the way." If you've taken the dive and the waters [sic] warm enough, this album is for you.
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