I was recently listening to the Joni Mitchell box set, The Studio Albums, 1968-1979, tuning in to her jazz period with bassist Jaco Pastorius. Specifically, the recordings, Hejira, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, Mingus and the live concert double LP, Shadows and Light which represents a lucrative jazz interval.
This created a strong desire for me to dig deeper into Joni’s extensive muse. I wanted to learn more what motivated her to transition from folk singer/songwriter to intricate jazz phrased poetry.
A new biography, Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. provides many more revelations about that creative era.
Yaffe was granted extraordinary access to the famously standoffish Mitchell, as well as to many of her closest friends and collaborators, including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Joan Baez, David Crosby, Judy Collins, and the late Leonard Cohen. Making the most of his proximity, he pulls off the feat that has eluded so many of his predecessors: He forges an intimacy with Mitchell on her own, uncompromising terms by truly listening to her, as closely and as generously as she’s always deserved.
This is a book I can’t wait to savor. I’m appreciative of David Yaffe sharing the artistic wealth.