Herbie Hancock River: The Joni Letters
Herbie Hancock River: The Joni Letters – LOS ANGELES, December 13, 2017 // –When Herbie Hancock’s genre-defining River: The Joni Letters won the 2007 Grammy® Award for “Album of the Year,” Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters and Vince Gill , it was a triumph to discover the music, the inspired musicianship and the kind of creative spirit that the legendary jazz musician carried throughout his unique and influential five-decade career. A true breakthrough, the album was only the second jazz recording to win the top honors in the award’s history, with the first being Stan Getz and João Gilberto’s Getz/Gilberto in 1965, 43 years earlier. The music award went to Joni Mitchell, who also won “Best Contemporary Jazz Album,” topping the charts and peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard 200.
In celebration of the album’s first anniversary, Herbie Hancock’s multi-Grammy Award-winning album “River: The Joni Letters,” will be released as a 2CD/digital expanded edition with four bonus tracks on December 15 via Verve Records/UMe.
Herbie Hancock River: The Joni Letters
In celebration of the album’s first decade anniversary, River: The Joni Letters will be released as an expanded 2CD edition with four bonus tracks on December 15th via Verve Records/UMe and a digital release will follow on the 29th To be followed in December. Last month, the album was released on vinyl for the first time in the US Preschool River: The Joni Letters here: https://UMe.lnk.to/HerbieHancockRiver
Joni Mitchell Fast Facts
Upon release, River was acclaimed by critics for Hancock’s thoughtful interpretations of Mitchell’s compositions, which he used as a launching point for extended musical meditations. The New York Times called it “an intimate reworking that comes from somewhere deep inside the music,” while NPR said, “Hancock is too smart to follow the record-setting script. He doesn’t radically overhaul Mitchell’s songs— instead, it gently opens them up. It engages the voices in interesting free-spirited conversations.” “Hancock brings to these songs an incredible sensitivity and insight,” New York enthused, adding, “he was of the age when pop and jazz were comfortably combined, and he’s at his best when he shows us how can they still.”
Hancock first worked with Mitchell on the acclaimed singer/songwriter Mingus’ record, an album consisting of collaborations between Mitchell and the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus. Along with Wayne Shorter, Hancock became part of the group with which Mitchell tried to create a new “conversational” approach to relating songs to instrumental jazz.
“At this point in my career,” Hancock said when the album was announced, “I want to do something that touches people’s lives and hearts.” With River, he did just that. Hancock enlisted producer/arranger/bassist Larry Klein (Mitchell’s co-producer and partner) to help him delve deeply into Mitchell’s body of work to select songs that could fit his low-genre, conversational approach to music. change, when trying to show. the breadth of Mitchell’s gift as a musician and writer. To add another dimension to their picture of Mitchell’s musical world, they also included two compositions that were important to her musical development, Shorter’s asymmetrical masterpiece “Nefertiti”, first performed by Hancock and Shorter on the classic album a Miles Davis recording of the same name, and Duke Ellington’s preview Standard “Loneliness.”
Hancock and Klein worked for months, carefully studying Mitchell’s lyrics and music, eventually whittling down their list to thirteen songs that they hoped would form a panoramic view of the poet’s work. They then assembled a group of the world’s greatest musicians, including the incredible Shorter on soprano and tenor sax, bassist and composer Dave Holland, (a musical ensemble of Hancock and Shorter who shared their experience, as well as Miles Davis. imprimatur), drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (then a late member of Hancock’s band and also played extensively with Mitchell and Sting), and Benin guitarist Lionel Loueke, also a member of Hancock’s band.
Herbie Hancock / Tina Turner / Edith And The Kingpin / Vinyl On Vimeo
They turned the lyrics into elegant, lyrical, unadorned vocal poems for such oft-recorded songs as “Both Sides of Now” and “Sweet Bird” (from Mitchell’s unforgettable classic The Hissing of Summer Lawns). traditional jazz records. “We wanted to create a new word, a new way of speaking in a musical sense,” Hancock said. Klein added, “We used the words to guide us. All the music came out of the poem.”
They were also fortunate to be able to release vocals with some of the biggest singers in the music world. Mitchell herself sings the autobiographical song about childhood “The Tea Leaf Prophecy,” Tina Turner turns the beautiful prose of “Edith And The Kingpin” into a timeless song-noir piece, Norah Jones delivers the soulful classic “Court and Spark,” Corinne . Bailey Rae transforms the haunting Christmas classic “River” into the innocent and optimistic poetry of a sweet romance, Brazilian-born Luciana Souza becomes a dark third voice to Hancock and Shorter on “Amelia,” and in a stark, cinematic closer, Leonard Cohen narrates . the brilliant and surreal lyrics of “The Jungle Line” as Hancock provides the film’s hand-crafted accompaniment.
River’s anniversary edition adds four more Mitchells’ songs, previously released as Amazon and iTunes exclusives. Additional tracks cover Mitchell’s extensive career and include “A Case Of You” and “All I Want” (featuring Sonya Kitchell) from her masterpiece Blue, “Harlem In Havana” from her 1998 album Taming The Tiger and “I Had A King,” the opening track on Mitchell’s debut album Song To A Seagull. “Harlem In Havana” and “I Had A King” make their physical debuts.
River: The Joni Letters represented a new journey in Hancock’s search for a new world – a world of words – and now with this new comprehensive edition, fans can rediscover this amazing album and delve even deeper into the timeless creations of Hancock and Mitchell. project , it was released four years later almost as an afterthought—and even many fans of Hancock’s electric music were unaware of it. It’s a shame, because this is one of the great, rock-’em, sock-’em, unreleased Herbie Hancock records, a live tour that features Hancock’s electric keyboard work, Foday Musa Suso’s chorus, loose vocals, and violinist, and a thunderous African/Caribbean rhythm section.
River: The Joni Letters: Amazon.co.uk: Cds & Vinyl
But the record is dominated by two long, crazy sessions for Hancock, Suso and the rhythm section, joined by the ageless Cuban percussionist Armando Peraza of Santana.
Although not all of the concert is included here (the laserdisc and VHS versions include more music), the CD captures much of the incredible energy level of the live event, where Hancock looked and played like a man possessed. This was a real breakthrough for Hancock, but unfortunately, this persistent chameleon has yet to follow this encouraging trend even further. – Allmusic
Digitally recorded at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, CA on a 24-Track Sony Digital Stereo by Record Plant remote truck.
Manufactured and sold by PolyGram Classics and Jazz, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc., New York, New York.
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Festival V.S.O.P. the band recorded their first and only album at CBS/Sony studios in Tokyo. The album is limited to a total of four songs, none of which the band has ever performed live. The opener, “Skagly,” is a seminal Freddie Hubbard composition, which Hubbard recorded under his own name a few months later in a jazz-funk setting (
Hancock “Finger Painting” and Williams “Mutants On The Beach” the band rocking out with their usual fun. The final track, Wayne Shorter’s “Circe,” is an impressionistic ballad that flows with Shorter’s sax explorations over Carter’s gentle bass vamp and Hancock’s smooth piano lines.
Although much of the band’s magic came from its immediate interaction with a live audience in packed concert venues, this album also showcases the friendship and unique musical bond between these “five stars.” – 2013 Sony Box Set Liner Notes
Note: This 1979 Japanese LP album contains the original tracks 1-4. For some reason, as far as can be determined, all CD versions of this album used alternate versions of “Skagly” (track 5) and “Finger Painting” (track 6).
Herbie Hancock’s Spellbinding
Richard Pryor stars as a well-known comedian at the peak of his popularity and the lowest of his self-esteem. Jo Jo has it all – Hollywood stardom, movie roles, platinum records. But the price he pays for fame and fortune is huge. He crumbles under the pressure of success and suffers a life-threatening accident.
Inevitably exploring his life, the film traces Jo Jo’s difficult past over four decades – from growing up in a brothel, to performing classic comedy in basement nightclubs, to eventual stardom as a disaffected and irreverent comic. This film marks Pryor’s directorial debut with his personal vision of one man’s odyssey of triumph and tragedy.” – Original Release Liner Notes
– Vintage electronic music in the soundtrack, with some permutations of past styles and vintage film soundtracks thrown into the eclectic mix. Jerry Peters provides the requisite orchestral backing, and the wah-wah guitar licks give some indication of where the funk herbie is at.