NICOLE MITCHELL © 2018

NEWS

Press Quotes

"Mandorla Awakening II underlines the powerful Afrofuturism to speak to our present reality"
Steve Smith, The Wire (April 2017)

"
A furiously inventive flutist, composer and improviser...Mitchell's album works through the anxieties of 2017 with a swirling, spiritually charged trip" - Chris Barton, The LA Times

 

​"​Nicole Mitchell is at the vanguard of the flute virtuoso continuum​" - NYC Jazz Record​

 

​"Mitchell's work over the past decade has been of a consistently high standard, but she excels herself on this new offering"​ - Jazzwise

 

​"Mandorla Awakening II is ambitious, adventuresome, defiant of genres and conventional wisdom and wildly dynamic. ​" - Britt Robson, Jazztimes​

​5 questions for Nicole Mitchell on I Care If You Listen​

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The best jazz flautist around today is back with another strong album. Chicago-based Mitchell’s imaginative arrangements showcase her versatile playing in its best light. The album starts in a swinging head/solo/head fashion then moves into more involved song structures as the disc wears on. Jeff Parker’s presence on guitar substitutes for Mitchell’s expansive use of percussion on her first three records. His rhythmic contributions often sit where the percussion once was and on more impressionistic tracks, like the beautiful "Sun Cycles,” adds many different colours. "The Creator Has Other Plans For Me” is a great riff on the title of the too-often covered Leon Thomas/Pharoah Sanders...

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Downbeat Critic's Poll 2012
Downbeat Mag Feature
Review of Maggio Fiorentino Commission
San Diego Reader

Robert Bush, May 17, 2012

Nicole Mitchell Dazzles at UCSD

Robert Bush, May 17, 2012

The groundbreaking and innovative flutist Nicole Mitchell offered up an evening of stellar music to a small, but enthusiastic audience at the acoustically superb Conrad Prebys Hall last night at UCSD.

The program was divided into two parts--the first being a series of duets with pianist Anthony Davis, and the second devoted to two orchestral compositions by Mitchell, performed by an ensemble of UCSD musicians.

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Delmark Rhythm and News
Awakening CD Reviews

May 2012

Widely regarded as the preeminent flutist of her generation, Nicole Mitchell was awarded both “Top Jazz Flutist” and “#1 Rising Star Flutist” in Downbeat Magazine’s 2010 critics’ poll, as well as “Flutist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalist Association that same year. Despite the acclaim, Mitchell has devoted most of her time to her Black Earth Ensemble, which highlights her abilities as a composer and arranger more than her skills as a soloist. On a smaller scale, the cooperative ensemble Indigo Trio and collective quartet Sonic Projections have presented ample proof of Mitchell’s instrumental prowess in spare avant-garde settings. But neither of the aforementioned projects spotlights her phenomenal technique and singular creativity...

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Xenogenesis Suite CD Reviews

Summer 2008

For those who have never heard of Octavia Butler, to whom this album is dedicated, a bit of background: Butler was an acclaimed science fiction writer, the winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, and to date the only science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant. Flutist Nicole Mitchell was a fan of Butler's fictionand composed a suite as a reaction to Butler's 1987 novel, Dawn, a part of her "Xenogenesis Trilogy." Mankwe Ndosi's mostly wordless vocalizations, one part Jeanne Lee, one part June Tyson, are the lead voice and signature sound of the CD. Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble is a fine band in the loose and powerful tradition of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative musicians, a group Mitchell...

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Emerald Hills CD Reviews
November 22, 2010

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 rammed into the 71-minute program. Mitchell's writing frames opportunities for exploring all the combinations inherent in the band, often with the flautist taking a back seat. In particular it...

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Black Unstoppable CD and DVD Reviews
Summer 2008

The best jazz flautist around today is back with another strong album. Chicago-based Mitchell’s imaginative arrangements showcase her versatile playing in its best light. The album starts in a swinging head/solo/head fashion then moves into more involved song structures as the disc wears on. Jeff Parker’s presence on guitar substitutes for Mitchell’s expansive use of percussion on her first three records. His rhythmic contributions often sit where the percussion once was and on more impressionistic tracks, like the beautiful "Sun Cycles,” adds many different colours. "The Creator Has Other Plans For Me” is a great riff on the title of the too-often covered Leon Thomas/Pharoah Sanders...

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Renegades CD Reviews

2009

Considering Nicole Mitchell's connection to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians(AACM), some listeners might expect Renegades to be much more radical than it actually is. But then, the AACM has never been about dogma or dictating that musicians have to sound a certain way; it has been about options. And on RenegadesMitchell opts for an inside/outside approach that is generally more inside than outside -- and for all its abstraction, intellect, and angularity, this 2008 date is fairly melodic. The acoustic quintet that Mitchell leads on Renegades is billed as Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Strings; in contrast to her larger Black Earth Ensemble, this post-bop/avant-garde unit (mildly avant-garde instead of ...

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Afrika Rising CD Reviews

2002

Nicole's second recoding is not to be missed. It is a true discovery, and I urge everyone interested in this music to seek it out. Hearing it reminded me of the first time I heard the Abdullah Ibrahim recordings, or of Randy Weston's incredible work with Melba Liston's arrangements. But since Mitchell plays the flute, composes and arranges, the more appropriate comparison might be the early Blue Note work of James Newton. Indeed, this is for me the most exciting debut on the flute since Newton came to light over twenty years ago. She thanks both Ed Wilkerson and Ernest Dawkins in her comments, and so we can hear her Chicago roots in the Afrocentric work of the AACM, and there is more than a hint of...

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Before After CD Reviews
Summer 2011

Flutist Nicole Mitchell's strong attachment to the Vancouver creative scene has borne unpredictable fruit. She has been an artist in residence at the city's International Jazz Festival from 2006-2010, but it was only when bassist Joëlle Léandre was likewise featured, in 2009, that the two combined, along with Vancouver native Dylan van der Schyff behind the drums, for the performance documented here as Before After. Over four collective inventions in a 43-minute program, the three participants reach an understanding predicated upon exploration of texture, an egalitarian outlook and the unforced melding of advanced techniques. Léandre is the mistress of such irregular meetings,...

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Intergalactic Beings (Xeno II) Reviews

Alpert Award interview (with John Corbett and Irene Borger 2011)

 

Critical Studies in improvisation, Vol 4 No 1, May 2008 (An interview with Nicole Mitchell by Ellen Waterman, University of Guelph)

Open Sky Jazz, Q&A with flute explorer Nicole Mitchell (Independent Ear, by Willard Jenkins, April 2008)

Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute (presented by American Composers Orchestra and Columbia University, July 2010)

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News: Nicole Mitchell's New Release: Arc of O

Released on Rogue Art (Paris, 2012), Nicole Mitchell's new CD features a new extensive composition for improvisers, chamber orchestra and electronics, titled "Arc of O."  The live performance was recorded in Poznan, Poland with the an_ARCHE NewMusic Ensemble and Chicago soloists: Renee Baker (violin), David Boykin (tenor sax) and Mwata Bowden (bass clarinet and baritone sax).  More info is available at www.dustygroove.com (US) or www.rogueart.com (Paris).  Or you can listen here!

Mitchell featured in New York Times
1-10-18