NICOLE MITCHELL © 2018

Mandorla Awakening

The innovative, boundary-smashing work of Nicole Mitchell, whom Chicago Reader music critic Peter Margasak has hailed as the “greatest living flutist in jazz”, has contributed new life to Afrofuturism in the 21st Century. A voracious reader of science fiction since her youth (Afrofuturist author Octavia E. Butler in particular has exerted a heavy influence on her music), the musician, composer and educator has released a string of albums that fold themes centered around technology, spirituality, race and gender into profoundly exploratory jazz that oftentimes reaches far beyond the genre in which it is rooted. Her vast sound can and often does encompass contemporary classical, globally oriented fusion, gospel, spoken word, funk-inspired groove research and even brittle shards of avant-rock. 

On Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds (FPE Records; May 5), her second and latest full-length for the Chicago-based FPE Records, she uses science fiction to pose the question, “What would a world look like that is truly egalitarian, with advanced technology that is in tune with nature?”