Musical artists joined the national library and American leaders to honor music legend Joni Mitchell in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, March 1, as she was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during an all-star tribute concert.
The lineup included performances by James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Annie Lennox, Herbie Hancock, Cyndi Lauper, Marcus Mumford, Graham Nash, Angelique Kidjo, Diana Krall, Celisse, Lucius and Ledisi.
PBS stations will broadcast the concert — “Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” — at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, March 31 (check local listings) and on PBS.org and the PBS App as part of the co-produced Emmy Award-winning music series. It will also be broadcast to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world via the American Forces Network. More information.
I love Wayne Shorter. He's the best saxophonist ever, in my opinion. Miles thought so too. Even over Coltrane and the people who were much more famous than Wayne, really. Everything was magical about him. I remember I was playing with Jaco Pastorius, who had just joined Weather Report. Wayne, of course, was one of the founding members of that band. Jaco was supposed to be in the studio recording with me, and he didn't show up. So I said to Henry, the engineer, ”I know where he is. Let's go get him.” So we went down to the rehearsal studio. Zawinul and Jaco were tossing a Frisbee on the ground. They were throwing it with their hand and priding themselves on how good they were at catching a Frisbee and everything.
At a certain point, they threw it at Peter Erskine, who was a new drummer in the band. It came towards him and he was terrified. He reached up and grabbed it and threw it. It wobbled all the way back. Jaco looked at him and kind of gave him the stink eye for a bad throw. Up on the stage meantime was Wayne with his horn tucked under his left arm. He was playing the keyboard with his right hand. Joe threw the Frisbee at Wayne, and it was coming straight at Wayne’s head, out of his peripheral vision. Wayne reached up, caught it and threw it back perfectly. You know, Wayne was more than a musician. He was like a little Zen master. He was mystical. He was the only musician that I could direct metaphorically or theatrically. I would say to him, “Come in here and get out here. Then come in really sad, and by the time you get to here… get really young.”
And he would play that! Or, I’d tell him, okay, Wayne, “you're the bird.” So he'd go out in the studio, put his horn in his mouth, and the first lick that came out of him was so like a bird. It was amazing. Then his hand was in the air waving for “one more take,” and I said, “no way. I'll punch you in, but I won't start over.” So I punched him in and I left the first lick that he played on the record. It was magnificent. He was just kind of unconscious when he played it, but it was so bird-like and so unusual. He was a beautiful musician. He will be sorely missed.
Wayne Shorter, the enigmatic, intrepid saxophonist who shaped the color and contour of modern jazz as one of its most intensely admired composers, died this morning in Los Angeles. He was 89.
Mr. Shorter had a sly, confiding style on the tenor saxophone, instantly identifiable by his low-gloss tone and elliptical sense of phrase. His sound was brighter on soprano, an instrument on which he left an incalculable influence; he could be inquisitive, teasing or elusive, but always with a pinpoint intonation and clarity of attack. - Nate Chinen
Wayne was Joni's 'go-to' sax player, and she asked him to record with her often- first on the Don Juan's Reckless Daughter album in 1977. He last recorded with her on 2002's Travelogue. Read more...
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Led by Mia Sheard each performer on the ticket will take turns on stage offering up their own stirring interpretations of Joni Mitchell recordings from across her career. Featuring Lori Cullen, Sheila Carabine (with more to come...) backed up a band including Robbie Grunwald, Chris Gartner, David Celia and Richard Granville-Martin. More information here
Back by popular demand! Celebrating the iconic Joni Mitchell and her album Blue, Hannah Reimann (vocals, piano & dulcimer) and guitarist Michele Temple first played this renowned album in its entirety in 2012 with their colleagues at The Bitter End where Mitchell played in the 1960s. Since that time, they have performed over 40 songs from Mitchell’s catalogue from seven albums and continue to add more songs to their repertoire with each performance in venues in four US states. What sets their show apart from other Joni Mitchell cover acts are their dedication to playing an authentic concert in the same keys and arrangements as the original studio and live recordings, plus seeking out great jazz, pop and Broadway collaborators In New York City who are willing to do the same with them. More information here
Monika Herzig and her jazz quintet, featuring vocalist Alexis Cole, bring a fresh take on the music of Joni Mitchell. Dynamic arrangements and creative improvisation highlight the timelessness and versatility of Mitchell’s songwriting. The concert will showcase some of Mitchell’s most beloved songs from her extensive catalog. It’s an event not to be missed, a tribute to one of the most influential singer-songwriters of our time.
Join us in celebrating Joni’s music and legacy, as well as the release of Herzig’s groundbreaking album, with Joni fans and jazz lovers alike.