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San Diego vocalist Robin Adler and her husband, guitarist Dave Blackburn, together with a large, tight ensemble they call the Mutts of the Planet will bring the music of iconic songwriter Joni Mitchell into Dizzy's on Nov. 6, from 7-10 p.m.

Adler and Blackburn formed Mutts of the Planet in 2006, with the ambitious notion of learning all of Mitchell's notoriously difficult music.

On Sunday, Mutts of the Planet will perform the classic Mitchell albums Blue, and Court & Spark in their entirety.


This is an extra-special edition of Mutts of the Planet because it features Max Bennett on bass, a veteran musician who actually toured and recorded with Mitchell back in the day.

Along with Adler's voice, Blackburn's guitar, Bennett's bass, M.O.T.P. features Barnaby Finch on piano, David Curtis on keyboards, Danny Campbell on drums, Barry Cahill on vocals, sax and flute, and Peggy Watson on vocals.

Blue was recorded in 1971, it was Mitchell's fourth album and it instantly placed her at the forefront of the "confessional" singer-songwriter movement.

Performed on the piano and radically retuned acoustic guitars, Blue was both deeply personal and musically diverse.

Singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson reportedly told Mitchell, "...ughh. Keep some of that stuff to yourself."

The album was a big hit and yielded gems like the lilting island-flavored "Carey" and the aching "A Case Of You."

Court & Spark, released in 1974, was simultaneously more musically ambitious and commercially successful, eventually reaching double-platinum status.

Unlike the more instrumentally sparse nature of her earlier work, Court & Spark featured a large cast of mostly jazz musicians, with the core band comprised of tenor saxophonist Tom Scott's fusion ensemble, the LA Express, with Larry Carlton on guitar, Bennett on bass and John Guerin on drums. Numerous other session musicians contributed, with Graham Nash, and David Crosby providing background vocals.

Court & Spark represented a sea-change of sorts for Mitchell: she had to "dumb-down" a lot of her previous attempts to work with rock musicians, because the rhythm sections simply couldn't follow her complex arrangements — something the jazz cats had no problem doing.

The album contained several singles that made the charts, like "Help Me," and "Free Man In Paris."

Adler honed her considerable vocal chops for years as a member of San Diego jazz guitarist Peter Sprague's groups, which, at that time, frequently covered Mitchell material.

This figures to be a highlight experience.

$20 general admission, $15 students w/ I.D.


Photo & concert poster courtesy Robin Adler

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