Last Friday night I went with a friend to a show called “A Celebration of Joni Mitchell.” I knew some of her stuff, mainly the older things and the songs made famous by steady radio play, but I was rather surprised to learn of her music evolution in later years.
She developed industry collaborations with artists like Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus wherein she delved into a bright, smooth, and moody jazz persona. I found I really enjoyed this style. I’ve always been a jazz/blues fan, and unlike others I can ride along with the waves of jazz improve and scat singing. This latter style is what much of this musical excursion was composed.
That night the crowd of Gaslight Theatre Music Hall was a bit older, a bit mellower, drinking wine, beer and lots of alcohol on the rocks. There were several men with their long grey hair pulled back in ponytails, and women like me dressed with a nod to the inner hippie with flowing tops, strings of necklaces, and long hair. There also were the retired couples who look like the AARP magazine covers, yet musically there was something for everyone.
The band, fronted by a woman named Kimberly Ford, were obvious professional musicians. Ms. Ford had a great voice, capable of flowing through the remarkable range of a Joni Mitchell song. She played her guitars, engaged with the audience and her band, while not missing a note of “Help Me” or “Coyote”.
I dug it.
It reminded me of a dream I once had of singing in a cellar club, with a combo consisting of drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, and sax. Doing Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mercer, along with some old big band ballads for an intimate group of nightowls. I guess we all have one of those dreams.