Jazzy and Mild with Zap
One of the most beautiful sights I've
seen this new year has not been the sunrise
over Columbia Point, but the long-awaited
appearance of one of the last of our true
"folk" singers, Joni Mitchell.
In the past, Joni has been known for giving
talented new artists a break, either lending
them her songs, "Urge for Going" and "The
Circle Game" did so much for Tom Rush,
or by having them tour with her, for
instance, James Taylor performed with her
in his early days, and later during his
"Mudslide Slim" period. Last year of so, Joni
gave the brilliant Jackson Browne some
exposure on her concert tour.
This year saw her with Tom Scott and the
L.A. Express, a full-fledged back-up group.
The L.A. Express, led by Joni's longtime
reed man Mr. Tom Scott, played a tasteful
mix of soulful jazz ranging from Junior Walker
and the All Stars honking saxes to dream-like
John Coltrane compositions.
Tom Scott introduced the members of his group
as Bostonian Rodger Loude, alleged composer of the
"All in the Family" theme, on electric piano; Mr.
Rob Ford, late of Jimmy Witherspoon, on guitar; Max
Bennett, formerly with Frank Zappa, on bass; John
Guerin, recently from Roger McGuinn, on drums; and
Tom Scott, himself, on flutes and saxes.
Joni Mitchell was introduced next, opening with
a song from her Blue album entitled "This Flight
Tonight." Attired in a sleek silver pantsuit and
accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang
her big hit of last year, "You turn me on (I'm a
Going to the piano, she played a tune from her
new album, "Court and Spark," called "Same
Situation." On guitar again, backed by the band,
she did another new number, "Just Like This Train,"
a jazzy, up-tempo version of Woodstock, gently
swaying and dancing to the music.
After a short intermission, she returned to the
stage alone, performing two older songs, "Busy
Being Free" and "Big Yellow Taxi." Telling a short
story about mixing plastic people in an apartment
with transparent furniture, Joni went into another
new tune called "People's Parties."
Sitting down on a velvet-draped chair, she
performed two numbers "All I Want" and "A Case of You,"
again from her Blue album. Joni accompanied herself
on an Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer. The
dulcimer is an instrument that possesses a
beautiful visual quality; it looks like an elongated
violin; held flat and is strummed with a
wooden dowel and a feather.
At the ending of her dulcimer session,
someone in the audience presented Joni with
a single red rose. From her "For the Roses"
album, she sang the title tune plus her
frightening heroin tale called "Cold Blue Steel and
Sweet Fire." Returning to the piano under a mellow
blue light, the lady sang the title song from her
album "Blue" together with "For Free" from "Ladies
of the Canyon."
Tom Scott and the L.A. Express regrouped to help
out Joni on three new numbers, "Trouble Child,"
"Help Me," and "Car on a Hill," followed by a
moving version of perhaps her most famous song,
thanks to Judy Collins, called "Clouds (Both Sides
With the red lights on, it was Joni and
The Jets as the band burst into her latest
single, the rollicking "Raised on Robbery."
Joni should have played electric on this number, but
she fit in with the band perfectly. She then
left the stage to a standing ovation and the
usual damned matches were struck, threatening to
burn down the hall if she didn't return.
Return she did, complete with band, to
perform her rock and roll lover's lament,
"Blonde in The Bleachers," from her last
album. Singing and dancing up front of the band,
they did the comical scat-singing
tune entitled "Twisted" from the
new album. A truly memorable evening provided
by a most pretty, and graceful lady,
Miss Joni Mitchell.