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Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration / gina loves jazz review

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Joni Mitchell turned 75 last November and her birthday was celebrated in fancy fashion with a concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles with a number of artists paying tribute to Joni and her songs, among them James Taylor, Chaka Khan, Seal, Diana Krall, and Norah Jones. The concert was recorded and the final product was released earlier this month.

The show starts with a carnivalesque, Latin version of "Dreamland" (from 1977's "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"), offered by Los Lobos. It turns out to be a pretty intoxicating affair with Chaka Khan chiming in towards the end before she takes over with her own version of "Help Me" (from "Court And Spark", 1974). Chaka is planning her own Joni Mitchell tribute album and I think she is sounding pretty good on this performance. Let's just hope that she can bring this supple, subdued color to her own project instead of simply shouting out lacklustre lyrics on boring songs on her latest, very poor release "Hello Happiness". "Amelia" is next ("Hejira", 1976), a perfect vehicle for Diana Krall who turns in a sublime performance and proves once again that she is much better off without the vast repertoire from the Great American Songbook. Her solo vocal (with piano accompaniment only) has some similarities to Joni's art in terms of diction and phrasing.

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