Herbie Hancock’s Expanded Edition of “River: The Joni Letters”

In celebration of the album's first decade anniversary, Herbie Hancock's multiple Grammy Award-winning album "River: The Joni Letters," will be released as a 2CD/digital expanded edition with four bonus tracks on December 15 via Verve Records/UMe. (PRNewsfoto/Verve/UMe)

Remember when Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, won the 2007 Grammy® Award for “Album of the Year”? The album was only the second jazz recording to win the top honors in the award’s history. The musical tribute to Joni Mitchell, which also won “Best Contemporary Jazz Album,” was #5 on the Billboard 200.

Expanded Edition with Four Bonus Tracks

In celebration of the album’s first decade anniversary, River: The Joni Letters, will be available as a 2CD expanded edition with four bonus tracks. Verve Records/UMe will release the new work on December 15, 2017, with the digital release to follow on December 29. Last month, the album was distributed on vinyl for the first time in the United States.

Hancock first worked with Mitchell on Mingus, an album featuring collaborations between Mitchell and bassist/composer Charles Mingus. Together with Wayne Shorter, Hancock was part of the group with which Mitchell created a “conversational” style of joining lyrics with instrumental jazz.

Top International Musicians

Hancock and Klein worked for months, reviewing Mitchell’s lyrics and music, eventually selecting 13 songs.  They then gathered top international musicians including the Shorter on soprano and tenor sax, the bassist/composer Dave Holland, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and guitarist Lionel Loueke, a member of Hancock’s band.

Mitchell sings “The Tea Leaf Prophecy,” Tina Turner interprets “Edith And The Kingpin,” Norah Jones makes her mark on the classic “Court and Spark” and Corinne Bailey Rae revives the Christmas classic “River.” Brazilian-born Luciana Souza joins Hancock and Shorter on “Amelia,” and Leonard Cohen recites the lyric to “The Jungle Line” as Hancock provides film score-like improvised accompaniment.

The 10th anniversary edition of River adds four additional songs of Mitchell’s, previously released as Amazon and iTunes exclusives. The extra tracks span Mitchell’s expansive career and include “A Case Of You” and “All I Want” (featuring Sonya Kitchell) from her masterpiece Blue, “Harlem In Havana” from her 1998 album Taming The Tiger and “I Had A King,” the opening song on Mitchell’s debut record Song to a Seagull. “Harlem in Havana” and “I Had A King” are making their debut in any physical format.

To pre-order this expanded release, see River: The Joni Letters.




About Andrea Hammer 240 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, director and owner of Artsphoria Media Group. This portfolio includes Artsphoria International Magazine; Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (https://www.artsphoria.biz); Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (https://artsphoria.live); and Artsphoria's Animation & Imagination World (https://www.artsphoria.net). She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.