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River: The Joni Letters

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iTunes Review

This album is Mastered for iTunes. This GRAMMY®-winning album isn’t simply a collection of Joni Mitchell covers by the pianist Herbie Hancock, it’s an expansive tribute album that imaginatively honours the legendary Canadian singer/songwriter from a number of different angles. River features jazz classics that you know Joni must dig, guest vocalists performing Mitchell’s songs, instrumental versions of her tunes, and an appearance by Joni herself on “Tea Leaf Prophecy”. The album is full of surprises. An instrumental version of “Both Sides Now” is a radical reimagining of the original, and a version of Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti” reworks the ’60s classic to great effect. The Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza strongly evokes Mitchell on “Amelia”, but she brings her own touch to the song, too. Tina Turner never sounded as jazzy as she does on “Edith and the Kingpin”. Leonard Cohen’s spoken word performance on “The Jungle Line” is gripping, but “Court and Spark”, sung by Norah Jones, might be the disc’s most intriguing track. Hancock, as restrained and inventive here as he is on the rest of the album, quietly dazzles, and Jones sounds great on this drifting, moody version. The band—Hancock, Shorter, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta—is superb. River is a wonderful homage to Mitchell and an excellent jazz album in its own right.

Customer Reviews

River -The Joni Letters

Corine Bailey (and our Host ) Herbie Hancock is magical ,what a brilliant Album


Born: April 12, 1940 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Herbie Hancock will always be one of the most revered and controversial figures in jazz -- just as his employer/mentor Miles Davis was when he was alive. Unlike Miles, who pressed ahead relentlessly and never looked back until near the very end, Hancock has cut a zigzagging forward path, shuttling between almost every development in electronic and acoustic jazz and R&B over the last third of the 20th century and into the 21st. Though grounded in Bill Evans and able to absorb blues, funk, gospel,...
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