Friday, 21 September 2018

Joni Mitchell - Shadows And Light (1980)

Metheny. Mays. Pastorius. Brecker.  Must be ECM Friday?  Not this time: it's a spotlight for, IMHO, the greatest live album ever made.  And it was released on Asylum in September 1980, a year after its recording at the Santa Barbara Bowl, where it was also filmed for a concert movie, hence the opening credits-style 'Introduction' left intact here.

At the end of the 70s, Joni Mitchell was wrapping up what has become my absolute favourite phase of her peerless career, spanning two magnificent albums, one admirably questionable double, and a lovely collaboration with a jazz legend nearing the end of his life.  All are represented here with some of their best tracks, given fresh propulsive energy by the crack team mentioned above: Hejira's great young bassist is particularly on fire throughout, to the point where I sometimes put this album on purely to listen to Jaco.  Pat Metheny's rising star confidence is a joy to listen to as well, even cheekily quoting his own 'Phase Dance' when Joni sings "...songs from the hit parade" in the first song.  Mays, Brecker and Don Alias round out an amazing band for this dream setlist, breezed through by a singer-songwriter who had utterly transcended that genre.  If you only have one Joni Mitchell album representing her 'jazz era', make it this one.

Disc 1 mega / Disc 1 zippy
Disc 2 mega / Disc 2 zippy

6 comments:

  1. One fine recording Alan. Pat’s solo on “In France...” is just too cool. Have always dug this album. Jaco and everyone else in such fine form. A stellar pick indeed. The DVD is great too.

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    1. Gotta get a hold of that DVD, for sure. Love the bits I've seen on YT.

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  2. Pissing On Summer Lawns23 September 2018 at 14:28

    Yeah. Joni Mitchell. The person who, both in print and on camera, was fond of ever so- subtly comparing herself to Miles and Coltrane. Uh huh. Whatever you say, sweetie.

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    1. I'll take your word for it, as Joni could talk some bollocks at times. Then there was the whole blackface alter-ego, which nearly finished me off... But in her case, I reckon Joni's one of those artists whose groundbreaking talent in her genre, and (mostly) enduring body of work makes any missteps forgiveable. See also... well, take your pick. Off the top of my head, Van Morrison's well-documented personality defecits. Doesn't stop me enjoying his records, esp. the ones I've been posting recently.

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  3. Hi Alan, thank you for the music. Had this album in vinyl some decades ago, your post has refreshed how great it is, will definitely search for the 2-CD reissue. Also grateful for the fine music you've been sharing through these years and which I've never acknowledged properly. Some of it was like meeting an old friend after a long time (Isham/Lande), some more like a welcome surprise (Van Morrison's 'Common One'), just to name a couple. Cheers!

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