November 7, 2013 6 Comments
It’s Joni Mitchell’s birthday. For many singers of a certain age, she is the mother of us all, and many of us have a case of Joni. Her songs to aging children [still] come, you know? Joni goes way back as a jazz explorer, but the love goes both ways, and there’s been a river of jazz explorations of her songbook. Yes, there was that multiple-Grammy-winning Herbie Hancock project, River: the Joni Letters, in 2007. But jazzers’ interest in the JM songbook started well before that, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Which got me to thinking it’d be cool if somebody compiled a list of jazz singers who’ve covered Joni Mitchell. Thank you, Joni, for giving us so much greatness to work with, and showing us the way. Happy birthday!
Some notes before we get started:
• This list includes only performances released on CD. There’ve been notable concerts (Laurie Antonioli, whose Joni CD is in the works, Claire Martin and Ian Shaw), but this list is for released recordings only.
• There are many instrumental takes on Joni, but this list comprises only vocals by jazz singers
• All-Joni-albums come first, individual songs second (with one exception: Cassandra Wislon).
• Links on song titles lead to the recordings themselves. Links on album titles lead to artist website, album reviews, stores, videos, or whatever I could find that seemed relevant. For some reason some of the links aren’t highlighted, but hover over the titles; most are live linked whether it looks like it or not.
• The list does not include the oft-recorded “Twisted” because it wasn’t written by JM.
• Yes, I’m included in the list.
• If you want to see a far more comprehensive list of Joni covers in all genres, you must go to Joni Undercover, lovingly and exhaustively maintained by Bob Muller.
MOST IMPORTANT NOTE OF ALL: All I want is to get the conversation started; I’m sure I’ve missed a lot that should be included (and I’m sure many of them are in my iPod, on my CD shelves, or simply stuck in my brain’s overloaded cache browser). It all comes down to you, dear reader, so please help me fill out the list by adding a comment (feel free to include links).
Leora Cashe and the Ross Taggart Trio: Another Side Now (Birth Records, 2008)
Ian Shaw: Drawn to All Things: Songs of Joni Mitchell (Linn Records, 2006)
Tierney Sutton: After Blue (BFM, 2013)
[Note: this album contains two tracks not written by JM]
Both Sides Now (Songs of Our Time, King, 2008)
A Case of You (Come Dream With Me, Encoded Music, 2001)
California (Shed a Little Light, Patois Records, 2013)
River (Short Stories, Atlantic, 1990)