Some artists know how to make an entrance. Joni Mitchell knows how to make an exit.
The famously prickly singer-songwriter claims her latest album Travelogue is her swan song from the odious swamp that the music business has become. Well, we don't know about all that. But we can tell you that the mercurial Ms. Mitchell sure does throw herself a swank going-away soiree.
This beautifully packaged two-CD set follows Joni as she relives some of the highlights of her career, delivering 22 of her personal favourites with the help of crack players like sax legend Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock and an orchestra conducted by Vince Mendoza (whose baton also graced her 2000 covers album Both Sides Now).
Naturally, Joni's favourites might not be the same as yours -- while Woodstock and The Circle Game make appearances, Travelogue ignores seemingly obvious picks like Big Yellow Taxi, Raised on Robbery, Help Me and Both Sides Now in favour of relative obscurities such as Otis and Marlena. Still, Mitchell's exquisite voice (which has descended over the decades from a brash soprano to a smoky alto) and Mendoza's rich arrangements (which run the gamut from the lush orchestral landscape of Wild Things Run Fast's Love to the moody jazz silhouettes of Mingus's God Must be a Boogie Man) just might convince you to add some of these to your own personal Mitchell best-of.
Ultimately, whether you're glad to see Joni go or not, Travelogue sends her off in style.