Historic “Both Sides Of Joni” To Be Presented In Buffalo

Reimagined Jazz Interpretations Of Joni Mitchell Songs To Be Presented Tuesday, April 25th at 7:30 PM

Joni Mitchell is one of the most revered folk singers as well as pop figures in American Music History. Many of her songs deliver messages that were and continue to be integral to the fabric of American culture. With such songs as “Both Sides, Now,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock” and “The Circle Game,” Mitchell became a central figure in American Pop culture.

In March of this year, Joni Mitchell was honored with one of the country’s most prestigious awards, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. It is the nation’s highest award for influence, impact, and achievement in popular music. The honoree is selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters, and other music specialists. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo the late Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, and Lionel Richie.

Joni Mitchell Receives the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Since the 1970s, Joni Mitchell has had a close affinity with jazz. At the peak of her commercial success in the mid-1970s, she began to take her music in a jazz-oriented direction, recording and performing with artists such as bassist Jaco Pastorius, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and pianist Herbie Hancock.

In 2020, vocalist Janiece Jaffe and friend and collaborator jazz pianist Monika Herzig began a journey of reimagining Joni Mitchell’s music with an eye toward jazz arrangements. The two spent the summer in a barn working out arrangements and rediscovering Joni’s music. Among the results is a new recording featuring some of Joni Mitchell’s well-known as well as lesser-known songs in reimagined jazz arrangements. “Both Sides of Joni,” was released on March 31, 2023.

Sadly, Janiece left this world unexpectedly in November 2022 during heart surgery, leaving her friend Monika to continue sharing their project and music. To honor Janiece and to carry on with the project with an international tour beginning in April of this year, Herzig recruited the award-winning jazz vocalist Alexis Cole.

Since the release and the international tour began, the reviews have been of the highest accolades:

“This speaks to the uncommon artistry of both Monika Herzig and – more especially – the eloquent ingenuity of Janiece Jaffe’s vocalastics. Together these women have celebrated the timeless artistry of Miss Mitchell by reproducing nine songs – of which “Help Me” and “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” yield the most indelible impressions of Miss Mitchell. The truly gorgeous settings of both [songs] act as the work’s emotional fulcrum. Picking up on the intensity of everything are the other performers too, each of whom give of themselves emotionally and idiomatically as well…” – Raul Da Gama, JazzdaGama

Mitchell’s synesthesiac blendings of unconventional melodies, chordal structures, and contemporary poetry have touched our hearts and minds, and it’s the eclectic nature of Mitchell’s work that has lent itself to a variety of tributes. With this posthumous release from award-winning vocalist Janiece Jaffe and pianist/arranger Monika Herzig, Mitchell’s work is interpreted with a fresh, jazz-oriented perspective…” – Leslie Mitchell-Clark, The Whole Note

“But to my ears, vocalist Janiece Jaffe and arranger Monika Herzig have envisioned the finest jazz rendering and re-envisioning of Joni’s songs…’Both Sides of Joni’ is the most insightful jazz treatment of Joni’s music.” – Dan Ouellette, Jazz & Beyond

Before heading to Europe, Monika Herzig and Alexis Cole have been on the first leg of an extensive tour in the United States. Performing the “Both Sides of Joni” project to sold-out audiences and rousing standing ovations. Receiving critical acclaim along the way.

Fortunately, presented by JazzBuffalo, an audience in Buffalo will have the opportunity to experience the historic project. And, to enjoy the imaginative interpretations of Joni Mitchell’s timeless music and words performed by an all-star ensemble of musicians led by music director/arranger/pianist Monika Herzig and featuring the renowned award-winning vocalist Alexis Cole.

Both Sides of Joni will be performed Tuesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. at Seneca One Auditorium in the Seneca One Tower in downtown Buffalo. General admission tickets are $30 and are available online at JazzBuffalo.org and Eventbrite. For a limited time, an Early Bird discount of $10 is available. The link below automatically takes you to the discounted checkout whereby tickets will be only $20:


We encourage you to get tickets soon and join the JazzBuffalo Community for what promises to be a historic and memorable evening in Buffalo!

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