Library of Articles

  • Library: Articles

Kiki Ebsen's Joni Mitchell Project Presents THE ULTIMATE JONI BIRTHDAY BASH at Vitello's Upstairs Print-ready version

by Terry Wollman
November 3, 2016

On Friday, November 4, classic song stylist and songwriter Kiki Ebsen presents her Joni Mitchell Project (TM) as they return to Vitello's Upstairs in Studio City.

The evening's theme is "The Ultimate Joni Birthday Blast!" including a full evening of salute to the singer-songwriter through her music and audience celebration, including a custom birthday cake recognizing Joni's birthday month (the singer celebrates her birthday on November 7th).

Following September's sold-out debut of her Joni Mitchell Project, Ebsen was invited back to the popular cabaret site, The E-Spot at Vitello's Upstairs. The evening of Friday, November 4, was chosen as the weekend closest to Joni's November 7th birthday. The Canadian singer-songwriter and artist was born in in Fort MacLeod, Alberta. In the past five decades, she has amassed an unparalleled following who name her as among the most influential musicians in their lives.

Kiki Ebsen created The Joni Mitchell Project(TM) as an opportunity for Joni-inspired professional musicians to join her in declaring "our respect, regard, and unending appreciation for her gifts." The two-set show includes "Night in the City," "Twisted," "Help Me," "In France They Kiss on Main Street," plus "Black Crow," "Case of You," "Two Grey Rooms" "River," "Carey" and so many more songs from nine of Joni's albums spanning 1968-1976. Audiences will enjoy the strong jazz influence of the evening's offerings, ala Joni's "Shadows and Light" live concert.

Joining Ebsen are Grant Geissman (guitar), Terry Wollman (guitar), Steven Lawrence (bass), and Matt Starr (drums). To formally introduce her Joni tribute project, Kiki chose Vitello's Upstairs as an intimate venue for friends and fans of Joni Mitchell to enJoy Songs ranging from her most familiar FM radio hits as well as many of her most intellectual, soulful album cuts that are best known to lifelong fans who cherish and curate their copies of her full discography.

In 1968, Kiki Ebsen discovered the magic of Joni Mitchell on "Song to a Seagull." With each subsequent release including "Clouds," "Ladies of the Canyon," and onto "Blue," Kiki discovered the magic of Mitchell's brilliant lyrics, amazing arrangements, and solid song stylings, each new album giving greater insight into Joni's artistry.

Simply after hearing "Michael from Mountains" was enough to inspire preteen Kiki want to follow her dreams. Says Ebsen, "Joni Mitchell has influenced my career in a way that no other singer-songwriter ever could. My experience is not unique; ask any touring musician who they most admire among singer-songwriters. Invariably, 'Joni Mitchell' is their answer."

Says Ebsen, "Joni Mitchell is a brave and fearless explorer of the heart and soul. Her music continues to inspire others. My lifelong appreciation of her creative gifts and performing talents was the impetus for creating my Joni Mitchell Project."

For more information on Kiki Ebsen's Joni Mitchell Project, visit

Vitello's Upstairs (The E-Spot) is located at 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, CA 91604. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 each (2 item minimum). Call (818) 769-0905 or order tickets online here.

About the Musicians in Kiki Ebsen Presents The Joni Mitchell Project(TM)

Kiki Ebsen

Kiki is a sultry jazz and pop singer-songwriter who was born to perform on stage. Whether offering up her own originals, jazz standards or inspired covers, she delivers beautiful authenticity to every song.

Ebsen began her career 20 years ago as an international touring musician and backing vocalist, supporting multiple Grammy winners including Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Al Jarreau, James Ingram, Chicago, Jeffrey Osborne and Christopher Cross. The award-winning singer-songwriter released 5 acclaimed albums of original songs before envisioning "Scarecrow Sessions" (Painted Pony Media), which Kiki recorded as a tribute to her father, with jazz arrangements by David Mann (who also produced the album).

From "Scarecrow Sessions," Kiki and her brother, award-winning film editor, Dustin Ebsen created "To Dad with Love, a Tribute to Buddy EbsenTM," a multimedia show with Kiki sharing memories of growing up in a Hollywood family. Stories are interspersed between prime jazz songs Kiki sings, backed by Perry LaMarca (Musical Director, keyboards), Kendall Kay (drums), Granville (Danny) Young (bass), and George Shelby (woodwinds).

In addition to Kiki's Joni Mitchell Project and "To Dad with Love," she also tours with "Hollywood Memories and More," an evening of straight-ahead jazz songs that include highlights from "Scarecrow Sessions" as well as other jazz standards. Her fourth show, "Kiki Ebsen: Solo, Duo, Trio,..." offers audiences to hear Kiki's original tunes from her first five CDs as well as her own inspired versions of favorite songs.

Steve Wagner of "American Songwriter" says of her talents that Kiki is "a world-class songwriter-performer-with a polished vocal style and songs of substance." Whether offering up her own originals, jazz standards or inspired covers, she delivers beautiful authenticity to every song.

Grant Geissman

The talents and gifts of guitarist Grant Geissman are as diverse as The Many (many, many) guitars he owns and loves. Recently an interviewer from Vintage Guitar magazine caught up with him and was blown away by his guitar collection, ranging from his first, a '65 Stella (from Sears) that his grandfather (who played banjo) purchased for Grant "so they could play together" all the way to Epiphones, a '64 Rickenbacker, a '79 Les Paul Custom, the '68 Gibson L-5 that he used on "Feels So Good," and ultimately, the blonde Gibson 335 he uses in concert, as just a few of his favorites.

Geissman's impact as a musician spans multiple genres in which his talent shines, whether performing, arranging, or composing. The versatile Emmy-nominated composer and guitarist is inspired by great music, from The Beatles (a favorite) to jazz to classical, to straight-ahead rock. Early in his formal studies, Grant had the chance to play in Louie Bellson's band, and later in Gerald Wilson's big band. He refers to those opportunities as "super learning experiences." His extensive career since the early days includes recording with Quincy Jones, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, David Benoit, Placido Domingo, and Julio Iglesias.

His discography of solo albums (at last count it was 14) has just a few of his friends playing along with him as special guests, like Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, Tom Scott, Mike Finnigan, and Patrice Rushen. He writes, arranges, plays, lives and breathes music, modest and humbly happy to be following his first and only choice of profession for his entire career to date. His latest CD, "Bop! Bang! Boom!" features Grant, Tom Scott, Larry Carlton, Albert Lee, Russell Ferrante, Mike Finnegan, Leland Sklar and Van Dyke Parks. For more about Grant visit

The Joni Mitchell Project is a great opportunity to showcase Geissman's vast talents on an extensive repertoire, as the set list includes songs from 9 of Mitchell's albums released between 1968-1976.Part of the charm in the diversity of Joni's music-for artists whom she inspired and continues to-is the freedom to interpret and deconstruct songs, to make them your own, something that Kiki Ebsen and colleagues enjoy, as they place their own musical imprimatur on them.

Thus, Grant is free to find his own way to play the complex and magical notes and rhythms so familiar to audiences who fell in love with Joni's songs on FM radio before they could hear her in concert. His innovation and expertise in playing any song he wants to play finds Grant in a category without peer. As modest as he is talented, Grant is a most generous team player in every session. Geissman is also a published author and is regarded as one of the most creative and acclaimed artists in the industry today.

Ebsen said, "Chances are good that just as Grant is already recognized for his exhilarating guitar work on "Feels So Good," and even as he may be known by the encapsulated charm of his "Two and a Half Men" Theme (co-written by Geissman, Lee Aronsohn, & Chuck Lorre)-you're going to want to hear his take on "In France They Kiss on Main Street." Grant Geissman is indeed a dynamic strength in my JoniMitchellProject." For more on Grant, visit his web site at

Copyright protected material on this website is used in accordance with 'Fair Use', for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s). Please read Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.

Comments on Kiki Ebsen's Joni Mitchell Project Presents THE ULTIMATE JONI BIRTHDAY BASH at Vitello's Upstairs

Comment using your Facebook profile, or by registering at this site.

You must be registered and log in to add a permanently indexed comment.

Facebook comments