River: The Joni Letters

River: The Joni Letters
Studio album by Herbie Hancock
Released September 25, 2007 (2007-09-25)
Recorded 2006–2007
Genre Jazz
Length 67:49
Label The Verve Music Group
Producer Herbie Hancock, Larry Klein
Herbie Hancock chronology
River: The Joni Letters
The Imagine Project
Professional ratings
Review scores
All About Jazz(favorable)[2]
Robert Christgau[4]
Daily News(favorable)[5]
The Guardian[6]
New York(favorable)[7]
The New York Times(favorable)[8]
The New Yorker(favorable)[9]
Time Out[10]

River: The Joni Letters is a 2007 album by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. It is a tribute album, featuring covers of songs originally written and performed by singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. It is Hancock's 47th studio album. It was released on September 25, 2007 by Verve Records.

Hancock is a longtime friend of Mitchell's, and both he and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who plays throughout the album, had previously collaborated with Mitchell on her 1979 album Mingus, and both continued to work with her on occasion ever since.[11]

Guest vocalists on River include Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza and Mitchell herself.[11]

The album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2008. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 after enjoying a huge post-Grammy sales boost, at #61 in Switzerland, #70 in France and #83 in the Netherlands.

Grammy Awards

On February 10, 2008, the album won the Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Jazz Album at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. The Album of the Year award surprised the music world;[12] Hancock had faced competition from major-selling artists Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Amy Winehouse, and Vince Gill.[13] River was only the second jazz album to win Album of the Year in the award's history, the first being Getz/Gilberto by Stan Getz and João Gilberto in 1965.[14][15] The track "Both Sides Now" was also nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental.[16]

Track listing

All songs were written by Joni Mitchell, except where noted.

  1. "Court and Spark" (featuring Norah Jones) – 7:35
  2. "Edith and the Kingpin" (featuring Tina Turner) – 6:32
  3. "Both Sides, Now" – 7:38
  4. "River" (featuring Corinne Bailey Rae) – 5:25
  5. "Sweet Bird" – 8:15
  6. "Tea Leaf Prophecy" (featuring Joni Mitchell) (Joni Mitchell, Larry Klein) – 6:34
  7. "Solitude" (Eddie DeLange, Duke Ellington, Irving Mills) – 5:42
  8. "Amelia" (featuring Luciana Souza) – 7:26
  9. "Nefertiti" (Wayne Shorter) – 7:30
  10. "The Jungle Line" (featuring Leonard Cohen) – 5:00
Bonus tracks

The Amazon.com exclusive version of the album features two bonus tracks:[17]

  1. "A Case of You" – 7:36
  2. "All I Want" (with Sonya Kitchell) – 4:15

The iTunes Store digital version features two bonus tracks:

  1. "Harlem in Havana"
  2. "I Had a King"



  1. "About.com review".
  2. "All About Jazz review".
  3. "Allmusic review".
  4. "Robert Christgau review".
  5. "Daily News review". New York. 2007-09-30.
  6. Walters, John L (2007-10-05). "The Guardian review". London.
  7. "New York review".
  8. Chinen, Nate (2007-09-09). "The New York Times review".
  9. "The New Yorker review".
  10. "Time Out review".
  11. 1 2 "News". HerbieHancock.com. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  12. Cohen, Sandy (2008-02-11). "Hancock Steals Grammy Album of Year". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  13. Leopold, Todd (2008-02-04). "Herbie Hancock rides on the 'River'". Music. CNN. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  14. Stryker, Mark (2008-02-04). "Herbie Hancock's Grammy win is a victory for jazz world". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  15. Moon, Tom (2008-02-11). "On 'River,' Hancock Skates Away with Grammy". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  16. Jones, Steve (2008-02-05). "Hancock bridged jazz, pop on 'River'". Music. USA Today. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  17. "Amazon listing". amazon.com. 2007-09-01. Retrieved 2007-09-09.
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