Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nicole Mitchell: Aquarius

Nicole Mitchell (flute)
Aquarius (Delmark; 2013)
Frank Rosaly (drums)
Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone)
Joshua Abrams (bass)

Nicole Mitchell returns to scene with her fifteenth album, Aquarius. And--as always, its a majestic affair. Pared with fellow Chicago creatives, Rosaly, Adasiewicz and Abrams, Nicole Mitchell has breathed new life into her already ethereal compositions.

The spirit of Coltrane and Dolpy floats swiftly through "Aqua Blue." Filled with a funky blues vibe, Abrams and Rosaly moving the melody along mixed with Mitchell and Adasiewicz swirling harmonics solidifies a beautiful opening number. Abrams sets a dark tone on "Aquarius." His opening lines and strokes are heavy, intense and intricate. The rest of group slowly arrive, creating a choral ballad that slides and drifts from structure to improvised, effortlessly. Mitchell's tone and steady pace is augmented by the freedom she allows her bandmates to explore through the last quarter of the piece.

I loved the soulful bebop ride of "Sunday Afternoon." A groovy number with an infectious rhythm section that sets up Mitchell's richly spiritual spacial patterns. Closing with the tribute to Chicago legend and one of my personal favourite musicians, Fred Anderson is lovely sentiment. Guest vocalist, Calvin Gantt delivers the importance his presence was (and is) to the scene. A pray and a testimony to his greatness.

Aquarius is yet another excellent session from Nicole Mitchell. And with another great set of young musicians, Mitchell brings a fresh perspective that just might be what those who haven't heard before need. Aquarius will be one of those records that you'll want to tell everyone friend you know to get. Highly Recommended.

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