River: The Joni Letters

River: The Joni Letters

by Herbie Hancock


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On his lovely and loving tribute to singer- songwriter extraordinaire Joni Mitchell, the iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock aims to enter Mitchell's richly suggestive world rather than remake her via his own preoccupations -- anyone expecting this to be a blunt "Herbie Jazzes Joni" project will no doubt be disappointed. An introspective yet thoroughly compelling quality that also extends to the choice instrumental performances pervades the album, a seductive quality akin to Mitchell's own best work. In keeping with Hancock's open embrace, "River" has its share of A-list collaborators. Guest vocalists including Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Corinne Bailey Rae, Leonard Cohen, and, on "Tea Leaf Prophecy," the muse herself, bring new life to such Mitchell anthems as "River," "Court and Spark" and "Amelia." But attentive ears will also hear some gorgeous playing from Wayne Shorter, the brilliant saxophonist who has collaborated with Hancock since their mid Sixties stint with Miles Davis. In a nod to Joni's shared admiration for the saxophone stylist, Hancock even redirects the spotlight for a nimble reworking of Shorter's own "Nefertiti." This curious blend of source materials -- which also finds room for Duke Ellington 's "Solitude" - somehow coheres beautifully. As Mitchell throws her arms around the world in her own music, so Hancock honors her vision with this inclusive masterpiece.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/25/2007
Label: Verve
UPC: 0602517448261
catalogNumber: 000979102
Rank: 52393

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Herbie Hancock   Primary Artist,Piano
Dave Holland   Bass,Bass Guitar
Wayne Shorter   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Soprano (Vocal)
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
Lionel Loueke   Guitar

Technical Credits

Joni Mitchell   Composer
Herbie Hancock   Producer,Audio Production,Management
Wayne Shorter   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Eddie DeLange   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Larry Klein   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Hollis King   Art Direction
Helix Hadar   Engineer,Vocal Engineer
Melinda Murphy   Management
Dahlia Ambach Caplin   Executive Producer
Steve Chrisanthou   Vocal Engineer

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River: The Joni Letters 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This excellent cd is truly deserving of the recognition received "Grammy for best album!". If you're a Joni fan and you want everything to sound exactly like Joni then you may not like it as much, but if you're a jazz fan and appreciate re-interpretation then you should enjoy this sensitive tribute by the great composer and modern master of jazz keyboard - Herbie Hancock!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of both Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell but somehow it almost appears as if the two have never crossed paths. Not many artists can do justice to Joni Mitchell's living legacy of music, however Herbie Hancock gave this project the old college try. But to be honest "River: The Joni Letters" doesn't quite feel right. Tina tuner's vocals are too sour for the song "Edith And The Kingpin" and it doesn't lift the spirit of the song up. Where as if you listened to the original version, you'll find that it's breeming with a certain sweetness. "The jungle Line" becomes a William Shatneresque spoken word ensemble, which to me detracts from the classic, again the original version was broody and primal. On a redeeming note though, Corinne Baily Rae's sweet and always delightful voice adds a ghostly, Joni Mitchell like quality to the classic title track "River". Norah Jones also makes an appearance and she is a nice surprise. "The Joni Letters" is too much of a mixed bag, with only a couple of odd players that never quite retains the albums' cohesiveness and it suffers because of that. All praises due to Hancock for the attempt though. I look foward to new work from Herbie Hancock the solo artist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been listening to HH since we dated the same girl in high school. I didn't like him then and today is no different.