Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystals - Aquarius (Delmark, 2013)

Flute player and composer Nicole Mitchell was a stalwart on the Chicago jazz scene for many years. Though she has moved form the city, she retains strong ties to its fertile improvised music scene and on this album, she performs with Joshua Abrams on bass, Frank Rosaly on drums and Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone. They play a sparkling blend of modern jazz, with flute and vibes making for a particularly interesting combination. Both instruments are capable if light sounds and texture, but they do not clash, but complement each other well. "Aqua Blue" is a fine example of this with Mitchell and Adasiewicz pushing each other to achieve a sound akin to the one Eric Dolphy and Bobby Hutcherson achieved on the classic Out to Lunch LP. "Today Today" begins with shimmering vibes and supporting bass, evolving into a lengthy tune giving solo space to Adasiewicz who is becoming one of the most sought after mallet players on the contemporay jazz scene. Named after Mitchell's astrological sign "Aquarius" features solemn bowed bass before slowly gaining momentum and culminating in a vibrant collective improvisation. The album concludes with a reverent piece dedicated to one of the leaders of the Chicago scene, the recently departed Fred Anderson. The musicians pay their respect with sound and spoken word recitation. Aquarius -

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