Joni Mitchell

Shadows and Light

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    6
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Shadows and Light is Joni Mitchell's second live album, and it serves as a good retrospective of her jazzy period from 1975-1979. As expected, she assembles a group of all-star musicians including Pat Metheny (guitar), Jaco Pastorius (bass), Lyle Mays (keyboards), and Michael Brecker (saxophone) who give these compositions more energy than on the studio recordings. The musicians are given room to jam, and they sound terrific on uptempo songs such as "Coyote" and "In France They Kiss on Main Street." If there is a general theme of these songs, it's about growing older and maturing after the failed idealism of the late '60s (the album opens with audio clips from the movie Rebel Without a Cause). Although this album is pleasing, the live arrangements are not different enough from the studio versions to warrant higher marks. In fact, Mitchell has always been an album artist who recorded studio albums that had a sound and feel all their own. While Shadows and Light provides a nice summary of her experimental period for casual fans, interested listeners should start with Hejira or The Hissing of Summer Lawns.

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