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Travelogue Box set

97 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, November 19, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Her previous album, 2002's Both Sides Now, was nominated for three Grammys, winning for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Earlier this year, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. Now Joni Mitchell both revisits the past and looks to the future with Travelogue, a 2-CD set featuring new recordings of songs from throughout her illustrious career, this time in the orchestrated style that made Both Sides Now such a success. Produer Larry Klein explains, "Our goal in recording this collection of Joni's songs in an orchestral context was not to create a 'Greatest Hits with Orchestra' type of record. The songs which we selected, a broad cross-section of Joni's work from her prescient early songs all the way through recent writing, have acquired a new power, timeliness and poignancy in her singing them in the voice of a woman who has lived a lot of life." For Joni Mitchell, the road continues with Travelogue.

Travelogue finds the incomparable Joni Mitchell sticking to the orchestral format that worked so well on her 2000 album, Both Sides Now, where she took a series of American standards, hitched them up to a 70-piece orchestra, and gave them her own quirky twist. With Travelogue, however, she has applied that technique to her own back catalog. Recorded in London's Air Studios with an orchestra, 20-voice choir, and key players such as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, this double CD offers moving reinterpretations of her most significant songs. There is "Woodstock," for instance, now sounding filmic and expansive, and "Hejira," softened by strings. Mitchell avoids schmaltz, however, with a rigorous, jazz-inspired approach. "God Must Be a Boogie Man," for instance, has a sense of Miles Davis's languid cool, while "For the Roses" sounds vibrant and edgy. On this record Mitchell explores memory and nostalgia, but without a hint of regret. --Lucy O'Brien

Disc: 1
1. Otis and Marlena
2. Amelia
3. You Dream Flat Ties
4. Love
5. Woodstock
6. Slouching Towards Bethlehem
7. Judgement Of The Moon And Stars (Ludwig's Tune)
8. The Sire Of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song)
9. For The Roses
10. Trouble Child
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Be Cool
2. Just Like This Train
3. Sex Kills
4. Refuge Of The Roads
5. Hejira
6. Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody
7. Cherokee Louise
8. The Dawntreader
9. The Last Time I Saw Richard
10. Borderline
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 19, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00006X06U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,516 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Paul Katz on November 22, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Joni Mitchell's TRAVELOGUE is a stunning, superlative work.
Capitalizing on the success of her last album, BOTH SIDES NOW, Joni has had 22 of her own pieces arranged for full orchestra by Vince Mendoza. Joni admirers probably need no further urging, so I encourage people who may not be familiar with Ms. Mitchell but love both traditional orchestral / jazz arranging and/or poetry to pick this up.
If you *are* familiar with the original versions of these songs, it may be a little jarring to hear them arranged in such a manner at first. Once getting past that, there is no question this is an album of startling reinterpretation. Never before has the poetic nature of Joni Mitchell's lyrics been so powerful or crystalline clear. There is never a musical arrangement that overwhelms her crucial words. It all mixes together flawlessly.
Every track from start to finish is a winner. However, my personal favorites are "Hejira" (with a gorgeous string arrangement taking the place of Jaco Pastorius' brilliant bass work on the 1976 original), "Amelia," with dreamy, soaring strings and horn in place of Joni's guitar, the haunting "Love" and the perfect jazz of "You Dream Flat Tires" and "Be Cool."
The packaging for the album is quite elegant & beautiful. We're treated to a full color booklet featuring various paintings of Joni's accompanied by lyrical quotes from appropriate songs. The 'Enhanced CD" portion accessible in a CD-ROM (via Disc One only), contains even more. Joni's latest paintings are featured in a "gallery" to browse through.
Also on the CD-ROM, you can read the lyrics to each song (from either disc) on it's own page and hear that song concurrently.
Read more ›
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Jim on November 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Someone once said that art that offends no-one isn't really art. This recording proves that. It is pleasing and disturbing at the same time.
I have all of Joni Mitchells's recordings. Since I prefer the Miles Davis-inspired albums, this one works for me, musically and artistically. What is unsettling is the over-the-top full orchestra arrangements and Joni's now-limited voice range. For reasons that elude me, as they age, many singers seem to want full orchestra back-up. I'm thinking of the late recordings of Billie Holliday, recent Shirley Horn recordings and Sinatra recordings where the orchestra overpowered his failing voice.
The unexpected sound of this recording makes it challenging and artistic. In that way she joins an elite group of interesting woman singers like Marianne Faithful and Pattie Smith, although Mitchell is far more the poet and musician. She is a real artist who challenges herself not to repeat herself. She isn't satisfied in making things pleasing. I am not sure,however, that the post-modern spin on her earlier songs does them or her justice. I get the feeling that the music arranger and coproducer controlled the sessions, which I am sure was not the case.
I miss the lonely guitar work and the voice that had maturity yet didn't seem to be straining. If you are wanting the Joni Mitchell sound of the past, you'll find this recording foreign.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is an epic and astonishing work. This is not merely a rehash of old material, but a song cycle made up of startling and revelatory interpretations of familiar and less-familiar songs in Mitchell's songwriting canon. It's an overwhelming experience, that demands your attention. This is not casual listening. The album takes the naked emotionalism established with her recent interpretations of "Both Sides Now" and "A Case of You" on the last collection, to new heights. Special note should be given to Vince Mendoza's expressive and cinematic orchestral arrangements. It has been said this is the last recording for Joni Mitchell -- whether that is true or not -- it has the feeling of a summation, yet despite its inherent nostalgia, points towards the future and hope of great and lasting music. A landmark album for Joni Mitchell, and one to measure all others for the ages.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Donn Hart on November 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Let me start out by saying that I am a guy in his twenties who regularly attends concerts put on by local hardcore metal bands. I love hardcore. But I love everything else as well. I'll be the guy at the Killswitch Engage concert wearing a Joni Mitchell t-shirt.
There's a simple reason for that. Joni Mitchell is a consummate artist, in the truest sense of the word. She lives and breathes art, she pours her heart and soul into every thing she does, be it painting, photography, writing, composing, or those breathtakingly original guitar tunings. I myself am a guitarist who's trying to learn some of those funky tunings.
"Travelogue" is the second of Joni's albums on which she is backed by a full orchestra. There are 22 tracks, 2 discs. Each song is a re-recording of one of her old songs, with an all-new arrangement for orchestra. And I mean wow. Dude, she blows you away with this.
Some fans have complained because she can't sing soprano anymore like she could back in the '60's. I'd like to ask those folks; does your voice sound the same now as it did forty years ago? No. People age, and things change. Granted, Joni smokes. But she's also older, and I personally prefer this voice. This voice is more suited to sing certain songs, like "The Circle Game," "The Sire of Sorrow," and "Hejira." This is the voice of experience.
My only gripe? Joni doesn't play any guitar on this album, which is a shame. But it's not a detriment to the recording, just a wish. Everything about this recording is incredible, from the innovative packaging, to the new arrangements, and those brilliant paintings. I enjoy the paintings inspired by September 11, but I'm really fond of the one on the cover; a self-portrait with Joni's face half in shadow, and surrounded by a cloud of politically incorrect cigarette smoke.
Basically, buy this album. Come on. Hear a true artist at work.
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