Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters" is a collection of songs, Vocal and Instrumental, composed by or Influential to Joni Mitchell



NY, NY - Following the release of 'River: The Joni Letters,' "an intimate reinvention" (NY Times, 9/9/07) of Joni Mitchell songs, jazz master Herbie Hancock (http://www.herbiehancock.com) will embark on a brief tour of West Coast venues this November.


In addition to band members Vinnie Colaiuta, Nathan East and Lionel Loueke, Hancock will be joined by young singing sensation Sonya Kitchell.  Kitchell will handle vocal duties for performances of songs appearing on the album, a tribute to Hancock's friend and fellow music icon Joni Mitchell.  The concert tour, which will include songs spanning Hancock's illustrious five-and-a-half decade career, will makes stops in California, Arizona and New Mexico.


"When Sonya and I first met at one of her performances last year, I was blown away by her professionalism, her grace and, of course, her amazing voice," said Hancock. "We brought her in to perform Joni's 'All I Want' for 'River,' and I was sold.  She's definitely one to watch, and I'm thrilled she can join us for the West Coast dates."


Citing Joni Mitchell as one of her key influences, the now 18-year-old Kitchell released her debut album 'Words Came Back to Me' in spring 2006 (Velour/Hear Music) to widespread acclaim. "With a knockout voice" (People, 4/17/06) and songwriting skills to match, the Massachusetts-born singer's debut was selected for national distribution by Starbucks as part of their prestigious Hear Music Debut series.  This tour marks the second live collaboration between Kitchell and Hancock, who last year invited the young vocalist to perform with his all-star band at the Sonoma Jazz Festival. 


'River: The Joni Letters," which debuted at the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart following its September 25 release, is a collection of songs, composed by or influential to Joni Mitchell. Arranged and produced by Hancock with legendary producer Larry Klein (Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux, Brandi Shearer), 'River' "explores how old words resonate when interpreted instrumentally and offers beautiful insight into [Mitchell's] conversational artistry" (LA Times, 9/23/07).  The album features vocal performances by artists including Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza, Tina Turner, and Mitchell herself. Kitchell's performance of "All I Want" appears exclusively on the Amazon.com version of the album.

West Coast tour dates include:

11/8/07 - Fairfield Center for the Performing Arts - Fairfield, CA
11/9 John Van Duzer Theater - Arcata, CA (Humboldt State University)

11/10/07 - Nob Hill Masonic Cen- San Fran, CA (San Francisco Jazz Festival)
11/11/07 - Campbell Hall - Santa Barbara, CA (UCSB)
11/14/07 - Centennial Hall - Tucson, AZ (University of Arizona)

11/15/07 - Lensic Performing Arts Center - Santa Fe, NM

11/16/07 - Orpheum Theatre - Phoenix, AZ


Depending on the day, Herbie Hancock might perform any number of roles. He’s the nation’s first-call jazz ambassador, a futuristic technology advocate, a dedicated educator, and of course, an American music luminary. Most of all, like all great artists he makes things new again. He did it for us with The New Standard, when he found the swing and the meaning in pop classics. He did it with his kaleidoscopic take on Gershwin’s World—and took home three Grammy® awards for it.