Joni Mitchell celebrated her 75th birthday in style last November, as Jörn Weisbrodt and The Music Center in Los Angeles hosted a pair of star-studded Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration concerts in her honor. The line-up (which Joni helped select) featured many of her closest friends and dearest collaborators, including Graham Nash, Seal, Chaka Khan, Kris Kristofferson, and James Taylor. Also on the bill were Diana Krall, Brandi Carlile, Rufus Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Glen Hansard, Norah Jones, and Los Lobos with La Marisoul, Cesar Castro & Xochi Flores. Featuring a set of Joni classics and deep cuts from across her career, each night was a thrilling tribute full of excellent music. November 7 was even more magnificent, as Mitchell herself attended and even appeared onstage to blow out birthday candles and sing along as the all-star band and more than 3,000 fans sang “Happy Birthday” and “Big Yellow Taxi” in tribute to her. A film of the event will screen across North American on February 7.
A CD of highlights from the concert — also entitled Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration — will be available on March 1 from Decca. The album’s 16 tracks include such highlights as Brandi Carlile and Kris Kristofferson’s heartfelt take on “A Case of You,” Seal’s breathtaking “Both Sides Now,” Diana Krall’s haunting take on “Amelia,” and and Los Lobos and Friends’ rollicking “Dreamland,” which features Chaka Khan reprising her guest vocal spot, as she did on the original recording back in 1977.
Anchoring each live performance — on CD and on screen — is a top-notch house band full of Joni’s collaborators. Led by drummer Brian Blade and pianist Jon Cowherd, the band also includes guitarists Greg Leisz and Marvin Sewell, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, as well as Jeff Haynes on percussion, Chris Thomas on bass, Bob Sheppard on woodwinds, and special guest Scarlet Rivera on violin.
The soundtrack CD is set to arrive from Decca on March 8.