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Album Review

Artifacts: Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell, Mike Reed: …and then there’s this


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Artifacts: Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell, Mike Reed: …and then there’s this
Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians or AACM, formed in 1965, adopted the maxim "ancient to the future." The future of which they spoke, in the hands of the next generation heard here, is indeed secure. The trio Artifacts comprises the gifted successors to the AACM, cellist Tomeka Reid, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and drummer Mike Reed. ...and then there's this is the trio's second release and it follows the self-titled debut from 482 Music in 2015. Where that release featured all covers of AACM masters' compositions, here six of the nine tracks are originals and three return to music of their AACM predecessors.

If we were limited to a one word description here, it would be "groove." The trio set their sights on motivating the booty as well as the mind. Credit Reed's drumming which can be heard in his ensemble Mike Reed's People, Places & Things and in collaborations with Roscoe Mitchell, Rob Mazurek, and Jason Adasiewicz. He has the ability to pilot a composition such as Reid's "In Response To" with compact gestures which blossom each track into a grand statement. This groove informs composed music and even the improvised "A.F." (for drummer Alvin Fielder) which could easily be identified as a Sun Ra interlude. Mitchell opens with a digeerido-sounding flute, the plucked notes of Reid, and the 'ting-ting' of percussion adding to the procession. Reid's cello often sounds like that of bassist Oscar Pettiford, who swapped his bass for a cello. She lays down a most expressive bottom on "Blessed" and "Reflections," then draws from the ethereal with her bowed cello "Reflections." Their cover of Muhal Richard Abrams' "Soprano Song" opens with a mechanized Raymond Scott-like approach, then spouts into a funky groove. They give us a glorious and meditative "J.J." (for Joseph Jarman) and a reggae take on Roscoe Mitchell's "No Side Effects." This is music for the ears which also rocks the behind.

Track Listing

Pleasure Palace; A.F.; Blessed; In Response To; Reflections; Song For Helena; Soprano Song; J.J.; No Side Effects.


Tomeka Reid: cello; Nicole Mitchell: flute; Mike Reed: drums.

Album information

Title: …and then there’s this | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Astral Spirits

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