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I somehow forgot just how intertwined pop star Joni Mitchell’s music has been with jazz. Maybe its because my sister bought the new Joni Mitchel records, and I only listened to them from the bedroom across the hall, that I didn’t memorize her album covers. But looking back on Mitchell’s work, up pops Bud Shank, Larry Carlton, and Jaco Pastorious. Her Mingus record was more a love offering than a musical statement. Now, twenty-years later she’s back, singing on Herbie Hancock’s Gershwin tribute, and is paid homage to on trumpeter Dave Douglas’ Moving Portraits (DIW/Japan). Add to that, this tribute from producer/pianist David Lahm. The musicians include saxophonists Lew Tabakin and Thomas Chapin, trumpeter Randy Brecker, violinist Mark Feldman, and drummer Kenny Washington. Lahm effortlessly moves from a Kansas City styled opener “Solid Love” to a Jaco Pastorious tribute “Coyote.” Chapin, a saxophonist we lost last year to cancer is haunting but so is Lew Tabakin. Wow, his straight-ahead jazz is so very expressive. On “Blue Motel Room,” he compliments organist Mike LeDonne and William Galison’s harmonica to slide the blues into your back pocket. Lahm reveals Joni Mitchell as a true jazzbo, something that could have wrecked her career so many years ago.
Track List:Solid Love; Song For Sharon; Edith And The Kingpin; Coyote; Blue Motel Room; The Blonde In The Bleachers; The Vamp From Hell; The Fiddle And The Drum; Solid Love (alternative version); Shadows and Light.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.