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Revelatory covers (8th in series): Jack interprets Joni

…wordlessly, but you can hear how acutely conscious he is of Woodstock‘s lyric.

According to Joni Mitchell’s own site, Jack DeJohnette and friends’ January 2017 version is one of at least 330 recorded “covers” of her Woodstock.

Joni wrote the song after her unsuccessful attempt to join the half a million strong for the fabled “3 days of peace, love and music” at Woodstock in August 1969.

As it happens, the Chicago-raised drummer Jack DeJohnette has for many years lived in Woodstock, upstate New York.

The Hudson Valley is also home to many other globally renowned artists, including double bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield – three friends of Jack’s, who are his colleagues on his fine current album.

Hudson is a mix of originals and covers, all connected to the Hudson Valley, and to rock music.

The Band, Bob Dylan and Jim Hendrix are also embraced, successfully.

This album sees four great jazz players address “rock” songs, lovingly and imaginatively

Happily, they do not try to turn them into “jazz” songs, nor drown them in  “jazz rock fusion/fuzak” cliches.

Hudson was recorded in Jack’s 75th year.

One of the greatest and most influential living jazz drummers, his powers are undimmed.

For more than four decades, he has been one of my favourite musicians.

A great bandleader, he is equally an incredibly flexible, sensitive colleague and accompanist, as remarkable for his restraint – his sense of what not to play – as for his strength and “technique”.

Jack and friends recorded just two takes of Woodstock. They chose the first one.

They did not choose between “funky/earthy/grooving/robust”, or “haunting/graceful/spacious/poignant”.

Here, all those adjectives fit:



Even in earbud-land/laptop-land the musicianship is inescapably evident, but you ain’t heard nothing yet until you hear this properly, uncompressed, through good speakers.

Published in 'western' musics instrumental music music songs, in English


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