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Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystal
by: Hobart Taylor

Standing on shifting shores of kaleidoscopic melodies, hopping time signatures like passing clouds shuttling across some southside mindscape, integrating momentous nervous tics talk tick tock thick talk think clock tuning turning tumbling....

UCI prof and composer Nicole Mitchell takes the ancient pipe breath voice called a flute and meanders like some stream from Olympus's source through melodies timeless and timely, journeying with the bell (wake up) alarums of vibes from Jason Adasiewicz, the nimble prodding digits of bassist Joshua Abrams which reach the deep tissue in the cerebellum (or when bowing slowly tighten like the grip of a comforting yet lethal muffler around the neck) and the AR 15 with an endless clip wielded by drummer (when not whispering sweet nothing at all on the ride and high hat) Frank Rosaly.

Chicago's jazz scene has a tradition of genre bending (Sun Ra, Art Ensemble of Chicago, The Association For the Advancement of Creative Musicians (Mitchell has been president of same), Leroy Jenkins , Roscoe Mitchell and among the younger generation, Rob Mazurek, Excploding Star Orchestra etc.She brings her fresh non categorical approach to this campus by teaching in the Integrated Improvisation Composition and Technology program in the music department.

The CD, "Aquarius", is so purely musical that you forget to compare it to any style. Classical... world... jazz... none and all of the above is all I can say. The playing is gorgeous. Standouts... well "Sunday Afternoon" and "Fred Anderson" swing and come closest to what folks call jazz, but I am especially fond of the title cut "Aquarius" and "Today Today".


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