- Released: September 25, 2007
- Label: Verve
JazzTimes - p.88
"This is Hancock's finest album since GERSHWIN'S WORLD....RIVER inspires complex reflections on the wonders of Joni, the renewable and re-workable nature of great art..."
No Depression - p.94
"RIVER: THE JONI LETTERS puts real jazz into Mitchell's bohemian oeuvre..."
- 1.Court And Spark - (with Norah Jones)
- 2.Edith And The Kingpin - (with Tina Turner)
- 3.Both Sides Now
- 4.River - (with Corinne Bailey Rae)
- 5.Sweet Bird
- 6.Tea Leaf Prophecy, The (Lay Down Your Arms) - (with Joni Mitchell)
- 8.Amelia - (with Luciana Souza)
- 10.Jungle Line, The - (with Leonard Cohen)
Personnel: Herbie Hancock (piano); Wayne Shorter (soprano, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Lionel Loueke (guitar); Dave Holland (bass guitar); Vinnie Colaiuta (drums).
Additional personnel: Corinne Bailey Rae, Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Leonard Cohen, Luciana Souza.
Audio Mixer: Helix Hadar.
Recording information: 600ft., Yorkshire, England (2006-2007); Avatar Studios, New York, NY (2006-2007); NJP Tonstudio, Zurich, Switzerland (2006-2007); Ocean Way Recording, Los Angeles, CA (2006-2007).
Photographer: Kwaku Alston.
Any doubts about the incongruity of jazz icon Herbie Hancock covering singer-songwriter extraordinare Joni Mitchell will be obliterated on the first journey through RIVER: THE JONI LETTERS. For starters, the premise is not especially incongruous. Hancock has had a long, adventurous career in which he's traversed genres and masterfully blended styles, while Mitchell has always been deeply influenced by jazz as both a composer and a singer. RIVER features many of Mitchell's finest songs, stunning in their own right and reinterpreted beautifully by Hancock, plus a stellar assortment of musicians and guest vocalists.
Mitchell's pop and folk tendencies have been assimilated into the arrangements; the album plays like a vocal jazz outing. Hancock is joined by fellow Miles Davis alums Wayne Shorter and Dave Holland, among others, and the guest vocalists include Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Corinne Bailey Rae, Leonard Cohen, and--on one track--Mitchell herself. Sophisticated, soulful, and gorgeous, RIVER is a must for fans of Mitchell, classic jazz, adult contemporary artists like Norah Jones--and, well, just about everyone.