You are here

Musical painting: reacquaint yourself with the genius of Joni Mitchell and the late Wayne Shorter

Mar 15, 2023

Two landmark musical events on March 2 -- Joni Mitchell's award of the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress and the passing at age 89 of the great jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter -- may not share much in common at first glance. But as Mitchell's folk stylings veered toward jazz in the late 1970s both artists became frequent collaborators -- Joni Mitchell's website notes that Shorter was her "go to" sax player, and he appeared on everyone of her studio albums, from 1977's album Don Juan's Reckless Daughter to 2002's Travelogue. The two also shared a mutual admiration for each other's way with visual art. Mitchell is well known for her paintings, and Shorter, too, studied visual art before music. In a reprinted 2013 interview with CBC Music about Mitchell's jazz influences, Shorter noted: She had a sense of feeling that I was joining her as a painter.... She said, "You're playing like you have a paint brush, you know."