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.
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