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.
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..."