Joni Mitchell's metamorphosis from acoustic chanteuse of folk music to sophisticated performer of jazz (accompanied by geniuses like Pastorius, Shorter, Metheny, and Brecker) made an indelible impression on Debra Mann. "Joni's lyrics, combined with her gorgeous melodies, carried on the wind of her unique voice, struck deep chords of feeling within me."
Mann was first introduced to the music of Joni Mitchell in a poetry appreciation class in junior high school. "We listened to songs by various artists and discussed the hidden meaning in the lyrics." She hadn't heard of Joni Mitchell until then, but once she had, her world would be forever changed, as she was awakened to her own emerging voice as a musician. "I was of the impressionable age of fifteen, when I had a great curiosity and openness to the world and was sorting out the landscape of life and love, with its hopes and promises, as well as its disappointments. Joni's music helped to frame and clarify that world through her honest self-reflection and keen insight."
Fast forward a few years. Mann has graduated from Berklee College of Music, performed at Boston's Symphony Hall, as a featured guest soloist with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra, performed at the request of Frank Sinatra, and performed with her trio on Ron Dellachiesa's WGBH radio program "Music America" in celebration of Women's History Month. Mann, a piano and voice teacher (Brown University and Wheaton College), continues to perform in clubs and concert halls throughout New England. Five years ago, she began performing interpretations of Mitchell's music with her jazz quintet. The concept caught on quickly.
Full Circle: The Music of Joni Mitchell (Whaling City Sound) reflects on a lifetime of admiration for an artist who has been uncompromising in her approach to music, and celebrates the occasion of Mitchell turning 75 years old this year. "This is very inspiring material to work with, " says Mann. "Joni's music stirs powerful emotions with its universal themes and timeless beauty."
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