River: The Joni Letters

Universal Music B.V.
Release date
24 Sep 2007
Running length
10 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Court And Spark 7:34 9,796
2 Edith And The Kingpin 6:32 7,116
3 Both Sides Now 7:38 32,050
4 River 5:27 11,109
5 Sweet Bird 8:14 24,999
6 The Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms) 6:33 3,380
7 Solitude 5:41 27,692
8 Amelia 7:26 3,897
9 Nefertiti 7:29 21,030
10 The Jungle Line 5:00 4,209

About this album

When Herbie Hancock released Possibilities (2005), a collaborative effort that paired the great pianist and composer with a group of pop and rock stocks from the world over, it was obvious the restless master was entering a new phase of his long career. In that context, River: The Joni Letters makes perfect sense. Hancock and his fine band — Lionel Loueke (guitar), Wayne Shorter (soprano and tenor saxophones), Dave Holland (bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) — prepare a series of instrumentals and vocal interpretations of the songs of Joni Mitchell. The vocalists here include those who were inspired by Mitchell, namely Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mitchell herself on one number (her own recording, Shine, was released on the same day), and some of her peers in the pop world, including Tina Turner and Leonard Cohen. Cohen’s connection to the songwriter is direct in that they are both Canadians and both came up playing clubs and venues in the then new “folk” scene. But Hancock understands something implicit about Mitchell: she was never — ever — a folksinger. Her compositions have always walked wildly adventurous rhythmic and harmonic terrain. Indeed, she has played with jazz musicians solidly since the 1970s, beginning with the L.A. record, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, and toured with jazz groups, including the all-star band assembled for Shadows and Light that included Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Lyle Mays, Don Alias, and Michael Brecker (Shorter played on a number of those dates as well).

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  • tekkie69

    Tender Dreamy Atmospheric Enigmatic Ethereal Reflective Wistful Romantic Reserved Bittersweet Playful Calm/Peaceful Refined/ Mannered Poignant Witty Sensual Laid-Back/ Mellow Organic Intimate Literate Elegant

    31 May 2010 Reply
  • mikeportnoy7

    Vinnie Colaiuta Rulez!

    28 Dec 2009 Reply
  • gipc

    Rarely does the Grammy get it right. But they did this time. Although I'm reluctant to give new material a listen, this one doesn't disappoint.

    16 Oct 2008 Reply
  • SirAlecHendrix

    best contemporary jazz.

    22 Aug 2008 Reply
  • Grosseteste

    Yes - whoever added the tracks tagged them very oddly (1, 6, & 10 I mean, of course).

    25 Jul 2008 Reply
  • akrde

    1. Court And Spark (feat. Norah Jones) 2. Edith And The Kingpin (feat. Tina Turner) 3. Both Sides Now 4. River (feat. Corinne Bailey Rae) 5. Sweet Bird 6. The Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms) (feat. Joni Mitchell) 7. Solitude 8. Amelia (feat. Luciana Souza) 9. Nefertiti (feat. Wayne Shorter) 10. The Jungle Line (feat. Leonard Cohen)

    14 Apr 2008 Reply
  • MacRuedi

    just great!

    19 Mar 2008 Reply
  • Arvyj

    good thing too

    11 Feb 2008 Reply
  • mitrado

    ... and Album of the Year it is... :-D

    11 Feb 2008 Reply

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