Sound — 8
Shadows and Light is the live album that was recorded on the "Mingus" tour in 1979. While it features tunes from the record "Mingus", obviously, it also delves into Joni's last two records for material as well. If you're not familiar with Joni's work, then the best way to describe it is as Jazz Folk. This record also features one of the best backing bands you could ask for. Jaco Pastorius? Check. Pat Metheny? Check. Lyle Mays? Check. Michael Brecker? Check. One of the best surprises about this record is the fact that all the band members work so well with each other and Joni. No egos involved in this at all. If you're not a fan of Jazz though, you may find it hard to listen to all the way through.
Lyrics — 10
Joni's lyrics are often described as "Biographic" (A term which she hates interestingly enough) and when you listen to this record you can understand why. Most of her lyrics are written in the first person, and are deeply personal, yet somehow are ambiguous enough that you can relate to them.
Overall Impression — 9
This may be Joni's crowning achievement in mixing Folk with Jazz. After this, she turned more towards pop, and before this her records only hinted at the Jazz she was working towards on this record. Fans of "Mingus", and "Hejira" will find the most joy in this, but even fans of "Court and Spark" and "Blue" will probably enjoy this record in some respect. The only complaint I can make about this record is that it most definitely requires concentration to listen to, there's often so much going on. If this was stolen or lost, I would be sure to put it on my list of records to buy.