Ms. Mitchell has been experimenting with jazz structures on her last two LPs, and now, under the guiding hand of the late jazz composer - bassist Charles Mingus, she's released a totally jazz work.
"Mingus' has Joni's lyrics set to Ming's music, but the final product carries Ms. Mitchell's unique stamp.
'Mingus" takes her deep into the structured spontaneity of jazz, but throughout Joni's guitar - playing minors, hitting syncopations and half-beats - can still be heard. There are several good cuts: "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", the Mingus standard; "The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines", where the horns gallop along, nearly out of control, and "God Must Be A Boogie Man", which was inspired by the first chapter of Mingus' autobiography and captures Ms. Mitchell's love for the man she called a "musical mystic'.
This LP is a hard one to review because it's neither old Joni, who told tales with lyrics, nor the Joni of "Hejira" (which I liked).
It's not really Mingus jazz either. It's a mixture, and for some people it will work nicely.
Those looking for the singer of "Circle Game" or "Both Sides Now" should look elsewhere. For those who like musical explorations, listen up.
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Added to Library on June 4, 2021. (1289)
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