Though the great Joni Mitchell remains too infirm to attend the SFJAZZ Gala that's being held in her honor tonight, the event is nevertheless moving forward and will feature tribute performances of her music by special guests Kris Kristofferson, Joe Jackson, Patti Austin, Laurie Antonioli, and others. The organization decided to honor Mitchell with a lifetime achievement award this year, and she was planning to attend the event before she fell ill in her L.A. home and was hospitalized on March 31. The circumstances surrounding her health have remained undisclosed, and she's remained in the hospital ever since, though LAist noted this week that she may be headed home soon.
When the honor was announced in December, according to SFJAZZ, "Joni said she felt honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from an organization whose mission it is to present the highest level of musical artistry, and one dedicated to jazz." The 71-year-old Mitchell was never a jazz artist per se, however much of her mid-career music was heavily influenced by jazz, and featured collaborations with jazz artists Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, and pianist Herbie Hancock. The albums Hejira, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, and Mingus all mark a high point for experimentation in Mitchell's career, and the latter two could arguably be considered jazz albums themselves.
Also in Joni's honor this week, SFJAZZ installed the above message for Joni in the windows of the vacant building across the street from them on Franklin Street.
Tonight's benefit event, for which tickets started at $2,500, had an RSVP deadline of April 30, and will begin at 6 p.m.
Below, some tweets about the rehearsals.