All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Nicole Mitchell: Engraved In The Wind

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
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 more concurrent lines which blur the distinction between larynx and instrument. However that's not to imply that technique scores at the expense of feeling as Mitchell also draws deeply upon her lyrical and soulful side.

Perhaps the pre-eminent flute stylist in contemporary jazz, Mitchell brings her compositional sensibility to bear on a program of sixteen mostly short cuts which examine a fascinating range of ideas. Interspersed among the largely extemporized pieces by Mitchell are five from the pens of others, written specially for this project. Adding further variety, and perhaps recognizing the task inherent in maintaining attention alone, Mitchell also utilizes over dubbing to provide her own counterpoint on four tracks. In this she recalls the experiments of one of her inspirations, James Newton who also multi-tracked his flute to stunning effect on Paseo Del Mar (India Navigation, 1979).

Mitchell calls on Newton more directly, as he contributes a piece for her—the punchy "Six Wings" which alternates drawn out tones and skippy altissimo phrases. Of the other commissions, most notable are Mitchell's collaboration with Aaya Samaa on the singing "Dadwee" and Yung Wha Son's "Song of Suchness" where sustained microtonality give way first to spacious meditation and then joyous folkiness before a return to the opening gambit. Many of the tune titles allude to the natural world, and indeed there is an elemental quality which pervades Mitchell's performance, manifest clearly on the rippling "Blue Mountain," the zinging dissonances of "Beehive," and the excitable multiple chorus of the pleasing "High light at the Waterfall." While unaccompanied flute may not be for everyone, those with an interest in either Mitchell or the instrument will be richly rewarded.

Track Listing: Blue Mountain; Dadwee; Forest Family; Cave of Forgotten Spring; Six Wings; Beehive; Making of Rose Quartz; Pratagraha: Virtue of Freedom from Attachment; Desert Choir; Boiling River; Song of Suchness; High Light at the Waterfall; Glacier Wall; Agoru III; Engraved in the Wind; Fireflies and Mischief on Dada B's Porch.

Personnel: Nicole Mitchell: flute.

Title: Engraved In The Wind | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Rogue Art


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Phil Barnes
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "Wobbly Dance Flower" CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Dance Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Der Verboten" CD/LP/Track Review Der Verboten
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "Contact" CD/LP/Track Review Contact
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Legacy: Neil Slater at North Texas" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: Neil Slater at North Texas
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017