20 February 2008

2008 Grammy Album of the Year: Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters"

Shocking the pundits, Herbie Hancock's win recently for Album of the Year at this years' Grammys marked a substantial tip-of-the-hat by Grammy voters to some much ignored musical excellence. The album is a multi-artist collaboration brought off by Hancock, inspired by Joni Mitchell's lyrics (check out a sampler of the record, including Hancock discussing his inspiration, here).

In Hancock's acceptance speech, not only did he thank Joni, profusely, he also eloquently acknowledged that he stood on the shoulders of giants, naming Miles Davis and John Coltrane in particular.

I snatched one track from the album off YouTube to give you a taste: it's the title track from Joni's groundbreaking 1974 album Court and Spark. This cut features one of the great young vocalists of the last decade, Norah Jones, as well as Weather Report alumnus Wayne Shorter on saxophone.


Exploring the earlier work of any of the artists named above is a fine investment of your time.

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