Thursday, March 25, 2010

For a Song: Twisted

Joni Mitchell: Twisted


As I started planning my jazz singers feature for this week’s theme post, I became more and more excited. The fact is that even though I haven’t had much chance to feature it here, I love jazz singing when done well. So I have decided to make a full week of it, starting with this edition of For a Song. The week starts now, and ends with my next album review.

I had no trouble deciding where to start. Twisted was the first example of jazz singing I ever heard. I already knew of Joni Mitchell’s music, mostly from the Blue album at that point. But this was something else. That something else was a quality called “swing”, although I didn’t have a name for it until much later. But I could feel it right away. This was music you could not sit still to. And one other thing distinguished Twisted. Blue is not a happy album, so it was great to hear Joni Mitchell having fun.

Bonus Track:

Lambert Hendricks and Ross: Twisted


In researching this post, I discovered that Twisted could be found on at least two Joni Mitchell tribute albums. I decided not to include either one. One was a fairly slavish copy of Mitchell’s version, while the other was more original. But what particularly struck me was that no one involved in either of these tributes seemed to know that Mitchell did not write or originally record the song. Mitchell’s career has included a scant amount of covers, and this one was the first. So, to set the record straight, I thought I had better include the original version, by Lambert Hendricks and Ross. It is quite wonderful in its own right, and this is what Mitchell was hearing when she came up with her interpretation.