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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell/Tony Marsh/John Edwards: Improvisations

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Not content with existence as a cutting edge venue for experimental music of all kinds, London's Cafe Oto has also launched its own record label OTOroku, documenting some of the stellar performances in the space. For their sixth release, they have selected material drawn from a 2 day residency by renowned AACM and Art Ensemble of Chicago reedman Roscoe Mitchell. In a continuation of a favorite Oto tactic of matching acclaimed guests with the cream of local improvisers, Mitchell meets ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: Live At "A Space" 1975

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The Canadian label Sackville released a series of exceptional albums throughout its forty plus year existence. A fair number of these document free-jazz concerts by American luminaries that took place in its hometown of Toronto. When the company folded, Chicago based Delmark purchased its Avant-Garde catalogue and has released expanded versions of these records on CD.One such gem is reedman Roscoe Mitchell's Live At 'A Space' 1975 now augmented with 20 minutes of previously unissued material. Mitchell, known ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell: Three Compositions

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On Three Compositions, veteran Chicago saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell's scores are interpreted by an established grouping with an AACM lineage, namesake flautist Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, unlike his previous album of written material, Numbers (Rogue Art, 2011), which featured a varied cast of contemporary players. It makes all the difference. This performance was one of three by the flautist's band at the 2009 edition of Sardinia's Sant' Anna Arresi jazz festival, and is captured here in sparkling clarity. Mitchell's subtle ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell: Numbers

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What's the difference between composition and improvisation once the music has been committed to disc? At that point even the wildest flights of fancy become fixed and immutable, able to be reheated and pored over at leisure. One difference may lie in the notation-defying musical characteristics integral to the finest improvisations: continual variation of tone and timbre and a high degree of rhythmic complexity. This distinction could apply to expositions by reeds or strings, but it becomes less pertinent for ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Roscoe Mitchell: London, England, March 9, 2012

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Roscoe MitchellCafé OtoLondonMarch 9, 2012 Saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell followed an increasingly well trod path. Dalston's Cafe Oto has a strong track record in bringing great names from the free jazz past to the north London stage, with previous guest artists including trumpeters Wadada Leo Smith and Ted Daniel, and saxophonists Joe McPhee, John Tchicai, Sonny Simmons and Arthur Doyle. Now added to that illustrious roster was a two-day residency for the reedman and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell and The Note Factory: Far Side

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In his recent book about the AACM, A Power Stronger Than Itself (University of Chicago, 2007), trombonist/composer/critic George Lewis makes a serious, thoroughly researched argument for its members creating their own lineage of American “experimental music," influenced as much by pan-African musics or juke joint jam sessions as by European high art music, and yet beholden to none of those idioms exclusively. As a result, for the critic or historian, it has always been difficult to even know how to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Reed's Loose Assembly Featuring Roscoe Mitchell: Empathetic Parts

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The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) has nurtured the talents of Chicago's most inventive artists since 1965. Drummer Mike Reed, the venerable organization's recently appointed Vice Chairman, repays the favor on Empathetic Parts, with his longstanding quintet, Loose Assembly, by welcoming one of the Association's original founders, multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell, as featured guest soloist.A veteran organizer and concert promoter, Reed's affinity for collaborating with his elders is reflected in his budding discography. Trumpeter Art Hoyle, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell and the Note Factory: Far Side

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Roscoe Mitchell's Far Side, with its theatrical quality, could easily function as a soundtrack to a modernist play. The beginning of the first and longest piece, “Far Side/Cards/Far Side," is reminiscent of the works of 20th century composers like Alfred Schnitke and Arvo Pärt, in the ominous sea of notes pouring out of the dual pianos and basses that buoy Mitchell's breathy and urgent alto sound. As Mitchell's saxophone grows stronger and clearer, the strings give way ...



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