The Music Center to Present JONI 75: A Birthday Celebration Live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Two All-Star Concerts Dedicated to Joni Mitchell on Her 75th Birthday
LOS ANGELES — The Music Center announced it will present two star-studded concerts, JONI 75: A Birthday Celebration Live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on November 6 and November 7, 2018, featuring an incredible array of singers and musicians who will honor one of the world’s most remarkable artists, Joni Mitchell, on her 75th birthday. On both nights, Glen Hansard, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, Kris Kristofferson, Los Lobos, Graham Nash, Seal and Rufus Wainwright, will perform songs from all stages of Mitchell’s life and career, across the entire oeuvre of her 19 studio albums. Co-musical directors, providing the musical arrangements for the evenings, are drummer Brian Blade, who recorded three studio albums and toured extensively with Mitchell, and, pianist, composer, arranger producer Jon Cowherd.
A music icon whose work continues to inspire generations of artists, Mitchell performed on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage in 1972 and 1974, with the Los Angeles Times describing her 1972 concert as “Joni Mitchell in a Giant Living Room.” “Our upcoming concerts will mark the return of Joni Mitchell’s masterful music to The Music Center, creating both an intimate ‘living room’ experience and a joyous celebration of her tremendous career,” said Rachel Moore, The Music Center’s president and CEO.
With nine Grammy® awards to her name and 16 Grammy nominations, Mitchell’s catalogue of music spans more than five decades. In 2017, Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue was named number one on National Public Radio’s list of the 150 greatest albums made by women. Her work has no boundaries and crosses genres from folk and pop, to jazz and world music. Mitchell is also a prolific painter and was once quoted as saying, “I’m a painter first, and a musician second.” While Mitchell hails from Canada, she has called Los Angeles home for decades.
Following the second concert, on November 7, 2018, The Music Center will salute Mitchell on her birthday with The Music Center’s Soirée: JONI 75, a special celebration for her and a fundraiser for The Music Center’s artistic programming as the organization strives to deepen the cultural life of every resident of Los Angeles County. During the post-performance special event, The Music Center will honor Mitchell with The Music Center’s Excellence in the Performing Arts Award, acknowledging her pioneering spirit and timeless art and music. The Music Center first bestowed this award, which salutes individuals who are innovators in the creative and performing arts, upon another great artist – actress, dancer and singer Rita Moreno – in 2016. The Music Center’s Soirée: JONI 75 is presented by The Music Center in partnership with Vanity Fair and its editor, Radhika Jones.
The Music Center’s Artistic Advisor Jorn Weisbrodt is the creator of the two evenings, and Danny Kapilian is the music producer. “Joni Mitchell’s songs create sublime paintings of the landscape of human emotions and the mind,” Weisbrodt said. “Her view is that of the bird and of the surgeon. There is an unprecedented marriage of intimacy and universality that permeates all of her work. Her art compares to no other, but relates to all of us. A pioneer and builder of her very own tower of song, Joni is a wanderer and a searcher, someone who did not rest but always moved forward, exploring new territory and inviting her audiences to travel on new trails with her. It has been the joy, privilege and honor of my life to develop these evenings for her and consult with her on this voyage. I cannot wait for her and all her friends to experience the magic that everyone on and behind the stage is going to create with her songs,” Weisbrodt offered.
Settling in Los Angeles with her guitar and inimitable voice, Mitchell produced a series of albums unmatched by any songwriter, including Blue, Ladies of the Canyon, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, Mingus, Travelogue, and many more.
“Joni Mitchell’s musical adventure is certainly great, but the more I get to know her as a person, the more I am amazed by the woman herself,” explained Rufus Wainwright. “When in her presence, the day dissolves and one glimpses something beyond, something very far away, yet oddly more concrete. Everything about her is oraculous. I’m so very honored to be part of her 75th birthday celebration.”
“I am very pleased to take part in these concerts honoring my friend Joni, without doubt one of the greatest writers we have,” said Graham Nash.
JONI 75: A Birthday Celebration Live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will feature musical performers who range from Mitchell’s contemporaries to the next generation of artists who have been influenced and inspired by her work. They include*:
Glen Hansard: Academy Award-winning and multi-Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Glen Hansard releases music under his own name and is also a member of the bands The Frames and The Swell Season. Joni Mitchell’s song “Coyote” was the first song of hers to fully captivate Hansard, who subsequently recorded the song in the studio with drummer Brian Blade for a project still to be released.
Emmylou Harris: A 14-time Grammy Award-winner, Emmylou Harris’ contributions as a singer and songwriter span 40 years. Harris, who is known as much for her eloquently straightforward songwriting as for her incomparably expressive singing, has recorded more than 25 albums. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2018. In 2007, Harris recorded Mitchell’s song “The Magdalene Laundries” for a multi-artist tribute CD celebrating Mitchell’s music.
Norah Jones: Nine-time Grammy Award-winner Norah Jones first emerged on the world stage with the 2002 release of Come Away With Me, her self-described “moody little record” that introduced a singular new voice and grew into a global phenomenon, sweeping the 2003 Grammy Awards and signaling a paradigm shift away from the prevailing pop music of the time. Since then, Jones has sold 50 million albums worldwide. In 2007, Jones’ rendition of Mitchell’s song “Court and Spark” was featured on Herbie Hancock’s multi-Grammy Award-winning album The Joni Letters.
Chaka Khan: One of the world’s most celebrated musicians, with a rich musical legacy, 10-time Grammy Award-winner Chaka Khan has influenced generations of recording artists. A songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur and activist, Khan has the rare ability to sing in seven music genres, including R&B, pop, rock, gospel, country, world music and classical. Throughout her legendary career, she has released 22 albums and racked up 10 No. 1 Billboard magazine charted songs, seven RIAA certified gold singles and 10 RIAA certified gold and platinum albums. Khan was invited by Mitchell to sing on the song “Dreamland” for Mitchell’s album Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter. Khan joined James Taylor and Herbie Hancock to celebrated Mitchell’s induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Diana Krall: Multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and world-renowned singer Diana Krall is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debut at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. To date, her albums have garnered five Grammy Awards and 10 Juno® Awards and have also earned nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums. Krall recorded Mitchell’s “A Case of You” on Krall’s 2002 album Live in Paris and has performed Mitchell’s song “Amelia” from the album Hejira many times in her live shows.
Kris Kristofferson: Heralded as an artist’s artist, the three-time Grammy Award-winner has recorded 28 albums, including three with pals Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as part of The Highwaymen. Kristofferson has spent three decades performing concerts all over the world, in most recent years in a solo acoustic setting, which puts the focus on the songs. His renown as a songwriter triggered Kristofferson’s successful career as a musician and led to a career as an actor. In 1969, Kristofferson joined Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Graham Nash and Shel Silverstein for an evening at Johnny Cash’s home, showcasing music at a gathering that has been described as one of the most potent assemblages of songs showcased for the first time in one place.
Graham Nash: Grammy Award-winner and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash has produced a remarkable body of work, beginning with the Hollies in the 60s and continuing through his union with Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young) and his solo recordings. His songs, including “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” “Just A Song Before I Go,” “Immigration Man” and “Chicago/We Can Change The World” among many others, are part of the collective DNA of an entire generation. Nash, who shared Mitchell’s home in Los Angeles, was inspired to write the song “Our House” when, on a dreary day, the two visited a local restaurant and Mitchell found a vase in a nearby antique store that she bought and filled with flowers while Nash lit a fire. According to an interview in Performing Songwriter (2016), Nash said, “‘Now, my and Joan’s life at the time were far from ordinary … and I thought, ‘What an ordinary moment.’”
Los Lobos: Multiple Grammy Award-winners David Hidalgo, Louis Perez and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos perform a powerhouse mix of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, Blues and traditional Spanish and Mexican music, which Perez once called “the soundtrack of the barrio.” With its humble beginnings as a garage band in 1973 East Los Angeles, Los Lobos has seen much success. Its worldwide crossover hit, “La Bamba”, from the 1987 film of the same name, reached No. 1 on the U.S. and UK singles charts. Now celebrating its 45th anniversary, Los Lobos still jams with the same raw intensity featuring music that is culturally rich, rocking and lyrically provocative. These concerts will be the first-time members of Los Lobos will perform music by Mitchell live.
Rufus Wainwright: Recognized as one of the great male vocalists, composers and songwriters of his generation, Rufus Wainwright has released eight studio albums, three DVDs and three live albums including the Grammy-nominated Rufus Does Judy Live at Carnegie Hall. Wainwright’s celebrated first opera, Prima Donna, premiered in 2009 to much acclaim and his second opera, Hadrian, commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company, will premiere in October 2018 in Toronto. Wainwright immersed himself in Mitchell’s material when he performed at Joni: a Portrait in Song – A Birthday Happening Live at Massey Hall in Toronto in 2013.
Seal: London-born multi-platinum singer-songwriter Seal has been focused on a single creative pursuit: expressing the full experience of love through song. Known for his one-of-a-kind soaring, husky baritone voice and classic songwriting, Seal has seen success across numerous genres of music. His smooth vocal delivery on hits like “Crazy” and “Kiss from a Rose” quickly cemented his status as a formidable singer, and over the years, he’s extended his influence with a wide catalog of original music and soulful covers earning him multiple Grammy awards and selling more than 30 million albums worldwide. Seal was invited by Mitchell to sing on her song “How Do You Stop,” which was featured on her album Turbulent Indigo.
Single tickets to the JONI 75: A Birthday Celebration Live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion concerts on November 6 and 7, 2018, start at $45 and are available at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office, 135 Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012; by calling (213) 972-0711; and online at musiccenter.org/joni. Special packages, including prime seats for the November 7, 2018 concert and gala dinner, are available by calling (213) 972-4322 and online at musiccenter.org/joni75soiree.