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Hejira – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell Hejira

Hejira

(1976), 9/10
Hejira is the Arabic word for departure, which is derived from Hegira: the story of the flight of Mohammed from Mecca in 622 AD. In Hejira Mitchell tells of her own journey of an escape from a failed relationship with LA Express drummer John Guerin, in the form of a road journey across America and Canada. Along the way she records the people that she meets (‘Coyote’, ‘Strange Boy’) and reminisces about previous failed relationships (‘Song for Sharon’). Hejira is very uniform in tone, which can make it difficult to access – apart from the more upbeat ‘Coyote’ and ‘Black Crow’, and the generic jazz of ‘Blue Motel Room’, it’s centered on Mitchell’s guitar picking. She’s accompanied by Weather Report bass player Jaco Pastorius, who’s a notable new contributor – his busy lines would be an important part of her late seventies output. Once appreciated, Hejira is one of Mitchell’s strongest works.

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