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Roscoe Mitchell & Tatsu Aoki: First Look: Chicago Duos

Jerry D'Souza By

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The manipulation of sound has been a divining rod for Roscoe Mitchell, who has taken it into uncharted territory, creating motifs that are sturdy yet allow for manipulation. History testifies to his propensity for the unusual and the daring, a trait that still flows within his being. He has just the right complement and foil in Tatsu Aoki.

There is an unhurried gait to the duo's music. Time floats by slowly, the gongs and the bass in ruminative conversation. They have a cadence, the lilt animating gradually, the excitement now palpable. Expression kindles a becoming glow as Mitchell plays the flute with a liquid luminescence on "In, sitting in perfectly with the mood.

That, however, is not always the scenario. "The Journey starts with the drums sending a message while Aoki plucks the bass tentatively. The buildup is deliberate, rhythm shaded subtly, call and response now the harbour of percussion. Aoki gets his bass to sing, which ignites Mitchell's tenor, initially blowing melodic lines and then dissecting them, taking the strands and bending them to his wont. And then the power of his imagination rides in as he unleashes a furious fusillade that ties the notes in knots, the convolutions burning with intensity as he surges into the upper register of his horn. This is proof absolute that Mitchell has lost none of his passion for the unusually striking.

Mitchell plays the sax almost like a shehnai on "Yoshihashi, the melody edged and honed on long notes. Aoki keeps the base rumbling, his quick furls getting the pulse to jiggle and dance.


Track Listing: In; East Side Easy; Number Five Wings Place; The Journey; Glide; Dot; Journey for the Cause; Yoshihashi; Out.

Personnel: Roscoe Mitchell: reeds, flute, percussion; Tatsu Aoki: acoustic bass, percussion.

Title: First Look: Chicago Duos | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Southport Records


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