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Mitchell strong on color   Print

by Tom Harrison
Vancouver Sun
September 4, 1979

"I've got a big palette now," Joni Mitchell said after her Sunday evening concert was over and now just a memory.

Indeed it had been a concert of many delicate shades and rich colors, and for the normally gray and cold Coliseum the tone that she and her allstar jazz band set was warm and intimate.

Beginning with the light folk-rocky Big Yellow Taxi Mitchell went for the same bold strokes in the variety of music she explored as she does in her painting (which is on view on the cover of the Mingus-album and in a book titled Starart that has been compiled by former Vancouver photographer Debby Cheser).

Coyote had a brisk, rolling tempo that complemented the cinematic speed of Joni's freeway imagery, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat and Furry Sings The Blues were mesmeric, spellcasting, Dry Cleaner From Des Moines was kinetic and featured some tremendeus interplay from Michael Brecker on sax, Pat Metheny on guitar, Lyle Mays on keyboards, Jaco Pastorious on bass and Don Alias on drums.

Mitchell also described herself as "eclectic" and a "rock artist crossing over to jazz."

True again. The concert began with a wonderful display of acapella singing by The Persuasions who returned later to encore with Mitchell on a rave up of Why Do Fools Fall In Love with Joni expertly handling the Frankie Lymon.

During the course of evening she reverently explored more than 30 years of jazz tradition, gave her own version of rock and roll with Raised On Robbery and Free Man In Paris, remained true to the jazz spirit blossoming within her by allowing room for solo improvisation (Metheny and Pastorius were the pyrotechnical standouts here), performed a delightful, percussive rendition of Dreamland, and made her exit Woodstock, folk anthem of her generation, deftly strumming the spare, hypnotic rhythm as the lights went out and the 8,500 in the audience gave her a final ovation.

It was a graceful, stately leavetaking; it was perfect.

 

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