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Best of 2017: The All About Jazz Mixtape, Volume 3

Read "Best of 2017: The All About Jazz Mixtape, Volume 3" reviewed by AAJ Italy Staff

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 Some cling to the belief that jazz is in crisis or worse, dead. Our impression is quite the opposite, and to prove our point, we've compiled a mixtape featuring some of the best jazz released in 2017. Also, check out our staff's BEST OF 2017 lists and view our 2017 recommendations. Playlist Fabian Almazan, “Alcanza Suite IV: Mas" from Alcanza (Biophilia) 0:00 Ralph Towner, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell: Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds

Read "Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Composer and flutist Nicole Mitchell has released her magnum opus with the provocative and stirring Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds. The single suite is a musical dramatization of the futuristic allegory that Mitchell wrote for the album. It is a short story set in the year 2099 and is about the symbolic struggle between the decaying and violent old order and the peace and vibrancy of an egalitarian society. The members of the ensemble build together poignant and ...

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Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble + Ensemble Laborintus: Moments Of Fatherhood

Read "Moments Of Fatherhood" reviewed by John Sharpe

Not content with being one of the foremost performers on her instrument, flutist Nicole Mitchell is also building an impressive body of work for larger ensembles. Moments Of Fatherhood takes its place in a distinguished lineage that includes Arc Of O (Rogue Art, 2012), Three Compositions (Rogue Art, 2013), and Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12, 2008). On this occasion, Mitchell combines a scaled down version of her Black Earth Ensemble with the French contemporary music group Ensemble Laborintus to form a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell/Tomeka Reid/Mike Reed: Artifacts

Read "Artifacts" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid and drummer Mike Reed are three of the most prominent members of the third generation of Association for Advancement of Creative Music (AACM). Each one is a consummate musician; equally adept at composing and improvising. Each one of them has forged their boldly unique artistic path with an instantly recognizable soundTheir collaborative album Artifacts is a compelling and exquisite work that augments their innovative individual styles with a superb almost telepathic camaraderie. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections: The Secret Escapades of Velvet Anderson

Read "The Secret Escapades of Velvet Anderson" reviewed by John Sharpe

Sonic Projections must be flautist Nicole Mitchell's hardest blowing band. For their second outing after Emerald Hills (Rogue Art, 2010) she draws inspiration from another hard blowing source in Chicago legend Fred Anderson. Not only a mentor to many young musicians in the Windy City, the saxophonist also ran the renowned Velvet Lounge tavern. That required a whole different order of skills to keep it going for so long: negotiation, organization, graft and resourcefulness in the face of gangsters and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble: Intergalactic Beings

Read "Intergalactic Beings" reviewed by John Sharpe

Intergalactic Beings forms the second chapter in flutist Nicole Mitchell's science fiction derived discographical strand. Like the first, Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12, 2008), it showcases Mitchell the composer, again drawing her inspiration from the Afrofuturist novels of Octavia Butler, in which survivors of nuclear holocaust are plucked from earth by aliens who believe that interbreeding is the only way to save the humans from themselves. Commissioned by the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the recording documents the premier at the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell: Engraved In The Wind

Read "Engraved In The Wind" reviewed by John Sharpe

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, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Nicole Mitchell: Arc Of O

Read "Nicole Mitchell: Arc Of O" reviewed by John Sharpe

Nicole MitchellArc Of ORogue Art2012Subtitled “for improvisers, chamber orchestra and electronics," flutist Nicole Mitchell's genre-busting Arc Of O resonates a little with the almost forgotten Third Stream. Coined by composer/educator Gunther Schuller as a term for a synthesis of classical music and jazz at the end of the 1950s, the label has been subsumed within the jazz world's ever increasing eclecticism which sees all cultures as fair game. Some of the first ...

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Nicole Mitchell: Awakening

Read "Awakening" reviewed by Nic Jones

This is could be called flautist Niicole Mitchell's first blowing date, although the rarefied nature of her music renders the term only loosely applicable. It's true that, in working with a quartet, she's created the right circumstances for music more reflective of the tradition to happen, but the results are no mere reiteration of a fading blueprint--thanks, in no small part, to guitarist Jeff Parker, the catalyst which sparks the revolutionary nature of this program There are ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell: Awakening

Read "Awakening" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Flautist Nicole Mitchell is visionary. Her music clasps a wide panorama of styles and sounds in a constant quest for the new, as she opens up a sonic spectrum that moves from quiet interludes to scintillating rhythmic motifs. Mitchell brings the flute up front on this CD, working with a quartet rather than the larger ensembles she has employed in the past. This gives the music intimacy yet, as with all of her recordings, has a tensile layer ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell: Awakening

Read "Awakening" reviewed by Jack Huntley

Flautist Nicole Mitchell's generous improvisational abilities are at the musical heart of Awakening. Not only does she move effortlessly from single-note lines and sliding honks to wispy, soft timbres, but she is equally comfortable moving from pure melodic phrasing to more experimental, free content. Coupled with an exceptional trio backing, Mitchell's album crackles with infectious spontaneity. Her music manages to be at once reflective and energetic, accessible as well as clever. “Curly Top" kicks of the set ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections: Emerald Hills

Read "Emerald Hills" reviewed by John Sharpe

In some ways Chicago-based flautist Nicole Mitchell's Emerald Hills resembles an old style AACM record: there's an adventurous spirit, a diversity of approaches, and chops to burn. More recent reference points include Mitchell's own Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12, 2008) but (largely) without the challenging vocals. Joining Mitchell in the quartet she calls Sonic Projections, are long time associate David Boykins on tenor saxophone, Craig Taborn on piano and Chad Taylor behind the traps. A lot of detail is ...