Top Picks: A Joni Mitchell Biography, Jerry Seinfeld's Web Series, and More

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Meet the real Joni

The woman who defined "singer/songwriter" and routinely revealed her most intimate longings, passions, and failures in her stunningly original songs, has always been reluctant to reveal Joan Anderson, the troubled, lonely recluse behind the artist Joni Mitchell. Canadian writer Katherine Monk's new bio, Joni: The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell, lifts the veil on her fellow countrywoman. Her account of Mitchell's dramatic rise to fame and countless love affairs, which inspired her songs, makes for a riveting read.

The wealth behind the greatness

Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford these titans of industry and commerce laid the foundations of modern America with their business and philanthropic acumen. History Channel brings the era to vivid life in a new, eight- hour series, The Men Who Built America, on Oct. 16. These five, self- made men, as ruthless as they were visionary, set the stage for the US to become a global superpower.

Pop song tribute

Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling's 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project makes real the notion "it's the singer, not the song," with his tribute to the studios where some of the most popular American tunes were written. Elling twists "Pleasant Valley Sunday" into a satiric romp, while "On Broadway" gets a full jazz make-over. The singer's four-octave baritone makes each highly recognizable number his own. Longtime collaborator Laurence Hobgood blankets the music around the vocals, keeping the toe-tapping beats lush and sophisticated. …


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