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Shadows and Light Print-ready version

The Rice Thresher (Houston)
October 10, 1980
Original article: PDF

Shadows and Light
Joni Mitchell
Asylum Records

On Shadows and Light, Joni Mitchell finds her way back to a creative plateau that had been recently absent. Playing with a band more synchronous to her music than ever before, Mitchell expands her own jazz identity, escaping the earlier influence of Tom Scott.

Mitchell released a previous live production, Miles of Aisles, which was a good record itself. The difference between these two efforts, however, is remarkable. Shadows and Light easily surpasses the other on the basis of musicianship, emotional performance and overall sound quality. The addition of Pat Metheny on guitar and Michael Brecker on saxophone are a definite plus. Mitchell's unusual musical control shows up in the album's near-complete expression of her individual artistry.

Shadows and Light contains a vast array of Mitchell favorites. Freestyle jazz melodies accented by delicate rock rhythms make up the majority. The most enjoyable pieces include "In France They Kiss on Main Street", "Edith and the Kingpin" and "Furry Sings the Blues."

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