Joni Mitchell Back On Tour

by Gerard Watts
Los Angeles Times
June 13, 1982

With new album in the works, popular artist ready for new concert swing.

One of the few popular recording artists who is indeed an artist, rather than just a performer, Joni Mitchell's career continues to manifest her evolution.

With sessions for her latest album now completed, Mitchell is ready for a return to a more pop-oriented musical style, one that does not forsake the funky jazz she has explored on her past several albums.

Always a captivating performer, and long a role model for other artists, Mitchell brings her unique fusion to The New Universal Amphitheatre Sept. 25 and 26.

The author of "Woodstock," the anthem of a generation that was included on her "Ladies Of The Canyon" album, Mitchell was once the prototype female folk singer. During that period her personal characteristics, her long blonde hair and her high cheek bones, were as well known as the lyrics of her songs.

As the 1960's ended, Mitchell became a confessional poet, making public many of her private feelings in albums such as "Blue" and "For The Roses". Mitchell's next album, "Court and Spark," was hailed as one of the finest works of the '70's, and summed up her career to that point.

With her two-record set live album, "Miles of Aisles," part of which was recorded at the Universal Amphitheatre, Mitchell made the first tentative step toward adapting her maturing lyrical impressions to a funky jazz rock instrumentation heavily influenced by horn player Tom Scott, and his L.A. Express band.

Surprisingly Mitchell was able to educate her audience, to bring them along with her on her explorations.

That was the case even when Mitchell made a more daring step in the jazz direction with her "The Hissing of Summer Lawns," a musical novel about the housewife trapped in suburbia, and "Hejira," a purely poetic album about travel and flight.

On the latter album, Mitchell recorded the music on the guitar alone, with bassist Jaco Pastorius, guitarist Larry Carlton and percussionist Bobbye Hall adding the spare instrumental support later.

Mitchell's "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" was an admittedly experimental album on which the artist made further explorations into the realm of jazz, Afro- Latin percussion and chanted, mood-setting lyrics.

The follow-up, "Mingus," was a tribute the the late jazz great Charlie Mingus, and with her 1980 release, "Shadows and Light," Mitchell took a more pop jazz approach.

Whatever her penchant, Mitchell's unique vocal style is always notable for her ability to fit virtually any stream-of-consciousness lyrics to her brilliant melodies.

Mitchell always brings to the stage her versatility, her beauty and her acclaimed vocal prowess. This is a performance not to be missed.


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