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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell: Discussions

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Saxophonist, composer, supreme improviser and a seminal artist for modern times, Roscoe Mitchell's (AACM, Art Ensemble of Chicago) illimitable inventiveness shines forth on this outing that encompasses a 20-piece orchestra, bridging experimentalism and counterbalancing song forms with nouveau classical music applications. The final piece is seemingly derived from a New Orleans slang expression “Who Dat," which is a mind-bending 22-minute opus. Commencing with somber strings and crosscutting percussion patterns, James Fei's synth articulations signal impressions of nature, paralleling ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pauline Oliveros/Roscoe Mitchell/John Tilbury/Wadada Leo Smith: Nessuno

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In 1991 the label I Dischi Di Angelica was founded solely for the purpose of documenting the performances of its namesake music festival in Italy. The non-profit label has grown--but only marginally--releasing a compact catalog of global music, typically related to artists that have some association with the annual event. Fortunately for fans of creative music, producer Massimo Simonini captured this unique event at AngelicA Festival in Teatro San Leonardo, Italy in 2011 and rendered here as Nessuno.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roscoe Mitchell Trio: Angel City

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Throughout his career Chicago multi instrumentalist and composer Roscoe Mitchell has forensically examined two key polarities. More than most he has focused on the tensions between sound and silence and composition and improvisation. On Angel City, a continuous 55-minute opus recorded over two days in 2012 at Mills College in Oakland where Mitchell is professor of music, the interaction between those opposites defines the new work. Alongside Mitchell, fellow faculty members reedman James Fei and percussionist William Winant prove able ...

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 ...


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