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Laurie Antonioli: Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light: The Music of Joni Mitchell

As is common knowledge among even casual Joni Mitchell fans, around the mid-1970s her passion for jazz became increasingly integral to her work; that passion escalated through the ’80s and included collaborations with Mingus, Jaco, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. So, at first blush, it seems odd that as jazz-savvy a vocalist as Laurie Antonioli would build a Mitchell salute exclusively around songs that pre-date Joni’s jazz immersion.

In fact, it makes tremendous sense. By restricting herself to Mitchell’s earlier music (stretching all the way back to her debut album, 1968’s Song to a Seagull), she’s provided purer canvases, free of other jazz influences. She seems, by and large, to color within the lines-but that’s because her shadings are so brilliantly subtle.

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