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Joni Mitchell captures perfection with latest   Print

by Nick Krewen
Hamilton Spectator
October 6, 1998

Joni Mitchell has rarely been an easy listen, and Taming The Tiger won't do much to change that perception.

Her poetry in motion is often punctuated with a gorgeous jazz chord that seemingly comes out of nowhere, and the free-form style of her accompanying melodies seem to serve her lyrical flow more than ever.

Talented side musicians like the ever sympathetic Brian Blade and former Weather Report sax legend Wayne Shorter reinforce Mitchell's jazz esthetic, while a newly invented synthesized guitar known as the VG8 has expanded Mitchell's own six-string palette.

As usual, it's Mitchell's own perceptive observations that sets the pace of Taming The Tiger, although the beauty of her poetry allows for a myriad of interpretation. Who would guess that Man From Mars is actually about her lost cat? Or that Harlem In Havana should be taken at face value as Mitchell's own recollections about attending a burlesque show?

Comments such as "Happiness is the best Face Lift" on Face Lift and "An angry man is just an angry man/But an angry woman ... Bitch!" reminds us of our own vulnerabilities, and Mitchell has always been one of the best to put it all into perspective.

Another bonus is the colourful accompanying booklet, which offers a number of Mitchell paintings showing that she is as adept with the paintbrush as she is with her muse.


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