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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections: The Secret Escapades of Velvet Anderson

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Sonic Projections must be flautist Nicole Mitchell's hardest blowing band. For their second outing after Emerald Hills (Rogue Art, 2010) she draws inspiration from another hard blowing source in Chicago legend Fred Anderson. Not only a mentor to many young musicians in the Windy City, the saxophonist also ran the renowned Velvet Lounge tavern. That required a whole different order of skills to keep it going for so long: negotiation, organization, graft and resourcefulness in the face of gangsters and obdurate City officials. All that is grist to Mitchell's mill as she envisions the late reedman as a comic book ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble: Intergalactic Beings

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Intergalactic Beings forms the second chapter in flutist Nicole Mitchell's science fiction derived discographical strand. Like the first, Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12, 2008), it showcases Mitchell the composer, again drawing her inspiration from the Afrofuturist novels of Octavia Butler, in which survivors of nuclear holocaust are plucked from earth by aliens who believe that interbreeding is the only way to save the humans from themselves. Commissioned by the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the recording documents the premier at the institution in April 2010. Inevitably given the subject matter, this results in another performance rich in mystery and ominous brooding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joelle Leandre / Nicole Mitchell: Sisters Where

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Sisters Where forms another installment in the fertile collaboration between French bassist Joëlle Léandre and American flutist Nicole Mitchell, following on from Before After (Rogue Art, 2011) and Flowing Stream (Leo Records, 2014). One enduring feature of the pairing is the attractive opposition of high and low ends represented by their respective axes, although of course LĂ©andre can effortlessly traverse that divide with her virtuosic bow handling. What further helps make the session work so well is that each includes a healthy dose of lyricism in their discourse, alongside more extended techniques. But it is their sense of improvisatory fun ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nicole Mitchell: Engraved In The Wind

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As a musician, flutist Nicole Mitchell brooks no constraints to her artistry. Not content with large scale orchestral works, such as Arc of O (Rogue Art, 2012), small group interaction with her Indigo Trio and mid-sized ensembles exemplified by her Black Earth Ensemble on Three Compositions (Rogue Art, 2013), she now takes on the ultimate challenge for the single line instrumentalist: the solo album. Of course, it's a misnomer to suggest that Mitchell can only follow one tack at once, as her prowess with multiphonics created by simultaneously using her voice and flute means that she often evinces two or ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Denis Fournier / Nicole Mitchell: Watershed

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Flautist Nicole Mitchell has found a supportive outlet in the Paris-based Rogue Art imprint, with her past outings including Anaya (2009), Emerald Hills (2010), The Ethiopian Princess Meets The Tantric Priest (2012) and Arc Of O (2012), and she is the most well-known name on Watershed. However she sits second in the billing below French percussionist Denis Fournier who contributes three out of five originals on the 51-minute 2011 concert recording from Junas in southern France. A long-time aficionado of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Music, Fournier first made acquaintance with its members back in 1985 through Kahil ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Nicole Mitchell: Arc Of O

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Nicole MitchellArc Of ORogue Art2012Subtitled “for improvisers, chamber orchestra and electronics," flutist Nicole Mitchell's genre-busting Arc Of O resonates a little with the almost forgotten Third Stream. Coined by composer/educator Gunther Schuller as a term for a synthesis of classical music and jazz at the end of the 1950s, the label has been subsumed within the jazz world's ever increasing eclecticism which sees all cultures as fair game. Some of the first improvisers to admit their influences hailed as much from contemporary classicism as the jazz tradition were among the early members ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nicole Mitchell: Awakening

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This is could be called flautist Niicole Mitchell's first blowing date, although the rarefied nature of her music renders the term only loosely applicable. It's true that, in working with a quartet, she's created the right circumstances for music more reflective of the tradition to happen, but the results are no mere reiteration of a fading blueprint--thanks, in no small part, to guitarist Jeff Parker, the catalyst which sparks the revolutionary nature of this program There are echoes of Eric Dolphy's later music in the brief “Snowflakes," but its brevity sadly ensures that it doesn't evolve much. ...



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