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Genre: Popular Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 10-MAR-1992
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from MONTCLAIR, NJ
Reviewed on 12/27/2006...
Excerpts from Amazon.com review: "After the expanded instrumental scale and sonic experimentation of Court & Spark and The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell reverses that flow for the more intimate, interior music on Hejira, which retracts the arranging style to focus on Mitchell's distinctive acoustic guitar and piano, and the brilliant, lyrical bass fantasias of fretless bass innovator Jaco Pastorius....tamed by Mitchell's cooler, more deliberate ballads: these meditations coax a far gentler, subdued lyricism from Pastorius, whose intricate bass counterpoints Mitchell's coolly elegant singing, especially on the sublime "Amelia," which transforms the mystery of Amelia Earheart into a parable of both feminism and romantic self-discovery. This isn't Mitchell at her most obviously ambitious, yet the depth of feeling, poetic reach, and musical confidence make this among the finest works in a very fine canon. --Sam Sutherland" Rewards repeated listenings. Joni's "Black Crow" is covered in fine form by Diana Krall.
What Can You Say?
joto | ny | 05/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are dozens of reviews here which more than adequately celebrate this album-- its haunting lyrics--its recurring theme and its unsurpassed musicianship. Joni has at times seemed the most underrated artist in the history of rock. Although Zappa, Fagan, Becker and Sting are known for their collaborations with jazz musicians, people forget that Joni Mitchell made musical history with musicians from jazz who crossed over. Hejira is one of them- due in no small part to the presence of Jaco Pastorius (perhaps the most influential musician in our culture since 1970).
But Jaco was only part of the magnificence of Hejira--Joni's lyrics rival anyone's, her best albums hold together with songs that make unified, lyrical and emotive statements. Anyone who has witnessed the life-changing experience that a journey can bring--they will know the meaning of Hejira. It is an album of the American Road that has coherence like Bruce Chatwin's Song Lines or Kerouac's On the Road--in forty years there is simply no finer example of a "road" album.
Sometime after this session Mitchell was contacted by Charles Mingus. Notably, Mingus wasn't looking for Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison or anyone else to compose words for his songs. Joni got the call. The fact that Mingus did this when his time was running out was a supreme vote of confidence for her and her lyrical abilities --More than whatever grammies and other awards she received in her career-- getting the nod from Mingus was an "award" of the highest order.
But the reason that happened is likely twofold. He knew and loved her lyrics and he knew she had chops. Mingus heard Hejira and knew some of the finest young jazz musicians on the circuit in the mid-70's had already made astonishing contributions to her art.
Jaco would go on to appear on several more of her albums but appeared here first. His playing on this album was some of the finest ballad playing in his career. This was not Jaco trying to blow you away with fast or funky licks--which he certainly was capable of. This is not Jaco jamming. During this recording he had the instincts to play deep, resonant, poetic and warm toned lines that provide an uncanny sympathy for both to lyrics and singer. Listen to Hejira if you want to know why Jaco Pastorius was without peer on electric bass. And you need not go to any other Joni Mitchell album for examples of how she can sing lines that go to the deepest places in the human condition.
The other material on Hejira--the tunes without Pastorius ---are also of the highest order. Amelia is a classic. The thematic content of the album moves seamlessly, with or without Jaco. But it is those four songs, in my opinion, where she has perhaps reached some of her most magnificent heights in a long and spectacular career:
Coyote, Hejira, Song For Sharon and Refuge of the Roads.
On those songs the two mesh as brilliantly as any vocalist and musician ever has-- They are, perhaps, the finest examples of interaction between a vocalist and a musician since Billie Holiday and Lester Young played together in the 1930's."