Thursday, November 08, 2007

Music I Liked And Didn't - 11/8/07

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NICOLE MITCHELL’S BLACK EARTH ENSEMBLE: Black Unstoppable CD (Delmark) - Acclaimed jazz flutist Nicole Mitchell has been among the leading lights of Chicago’s thriving improvised music scene for many years now, performing with projects such as Frequency, the Indigo Trio, and Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra. The Black Earth Ensemble, however, is the primary vehicle for Mitchell’s compositions and creative vision and “Black Unstoppable” is their fourth full-length release.

As would befit a group led by the current co-president of the legendary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the material on this album incorporates the diverse range of “Great Black Music” from the blues, the sounds of New Orleans, pop vocals, and straight forward jazz to more modern, avant-garde jazz, and even hints of R & B/soul and African musical influences. Mitchell is excellent on flute and piccolo throughout and the ensemble, which includes such luminaries as Josh Abrams (bass), David Boykin (tenor saxophone), Jeff Parker (guitar/mindblowing effects), and rising star David Young (trumpet/flugelhorn), is incredibly tight, the somewhat brief solo segments impressive, and the overall production top notch, clear and clean. Highlights include the alternately swinging and slammin’ opening track "Cause & Effect", the blues stomper "Love Has No Boundaries" (which is one of several tracks featuring vocalist Ugochi Nwaogwugwu), the better of the disc’s two more experimental pieces “Sun Cycles”, and the album’s centerpiece "The Creator Has Other Plans For Me". With “Black Unstoppable”, Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble have created an excellent set of music that honors the traditions of jazz, while also looking forward to potential future musical horizons.

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Running Count For The Year

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Did Not Add 18/14%

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