Chicago flautist Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble in a release inspired by the work of Afrofuturist writer Octavia Butler; powerful, dissonant and intense performances.
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Label: Firehouse 12 Records
Catalog ID: FH12-04-01-006
Squidco Product Code: 12769
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Commissioned by Chamber Music America's New Works Presentation program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Foundation. Recorded June 20, 2007 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT
David Boykin-tenor saxophone
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1. Wonder 5:05
2. Transtition A 5:54
3. Smell of Fear 5:38
4. Sequence Shadows 4:44
5. Oankali 4:26
6. Adrenalin 5:45
7. Transition C 5:51
8. Before and After 6:41
9. Dawn of a New Life 7:02
Related Categories of Interest:
Unusual Vocal Forms
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
sample the album:
"Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler is the new studio recording of Chicago-based flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell's extended work of the same name, inspired by the work of Afrofuturist writer Octavia Butler (1947 - 2006), a Hugo, Locus and Nebula Award winner and the first science fiction author to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant. The piece, realized by her decade-old group, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, received its world premiere in June 2007 at the 12th annual Vision Festival in New York and was performed again at the Chicago Cultural Center in December 2007.
"Brooding and sometimes harrowing," explains the Chicago Reader's Peter Margasak in an August 2007 feature article, "[Xenogenesis Suite] combines lyrics and nonverbal vocals with jagged, dissonant instrumental arrangements to convey the story of a black woman abducted by aliens after humanity nearly kills itself off in a nuclear war - her captors need to interbreed with other species to remain genetically viable, and she's asked to recruit other humans to help."
Critics called have called the piece "dense, dramatic and daring" (Howard Mandel, JazzHouse.org), "haunting and extraordinarily moving" (Marc Medwin, AllAboutJazz.com) and "reminiscent of some of the best work of Sun Ra, The Art Ensemble of Chicago or Horace Tapscott and the Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra" (Dr. Saïs Kamalidiin, jazzreview.com). Time Out Chicago's Matthew Lurie adds, "If only every high-achieving author had a champion this imaginative."-Firehouse 12
• Show Bio for Nicole Mitchell
"Nicole Mitchell (b. 1967) is a creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly awarded by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as "Top Flutist of the Year" for the last four years (2010-2014). Mitchell's music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such as Black Unstoppable (Delmark, 2007), Awakening (Delmark, 2011), and Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler (Firehouse 12, 2008), which received commissioning support from Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works.
Mitchell formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and has been a member since 1995. In recognition of her impact within the Chicago music and arts education communities, she was named "Chicagoan of the Year" in 2006 by the Chicago Tribune. With her ensembles, as a featured flutist and composer, Mitchell has been a highlight at festivals and art venues throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
Ms. Mitchell is a recipient of the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts (2011) and has been commissioned by Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra and Maggio Fiorentino Chamber Orchestra (Florence, Italy). In 2009, she created Honoring Grace: Michelle Obama for the Jazz Institute of Chicago. She has been a faculty member at the Vancouver Creative Music Institute, the Sherwood Flute Institute, Banff International Jazz Workshop and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, and in magazines including Ebony, Downbeat, JazzIz, Jazz Times, Jazz Wise, and American Legacy.
Nicole MItchell is currently a Professor of Music, teaching in "Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology," (ICIT) a new and expansively-minded graduate program at the University of California, Irvine. In November 2014, ICIT was approved for the unleashing of a new MA/PhD program, which will be offered starting fall 2015. Mitchell's recent composition, Flight for Freedom for Creative Flute and Orchestra, a Tribute to Harriet Tubman, premiered with the Chicago Composers' Orchestra in December 2011 and was presented again with CCO in May 2014. She was also commisisoned by Chicago Sinfonietta for Harambee: Road to Victory, for Solo Flute, Choir and Orchestra in January 2012. Her latest commission was from the French Ministry of Culture and the Royaumont Foundation in October 2014, which supported the development and French tour of Beyond Black - a collaboration with kora master Ballake Sissoko, Black Earth Ensemble and friends. Currently Mitchell is preparing her next commission supported by the French American Jazz Exchange, entitled Moments of Fatherhood, featuring Black Earth Ensemble and the Parisian chamber group L'Ensemble Laborintus, to premiere at the Sons d'hiver Jazz Festival in late January 2015.
Among the first class of Doris Duke Artists (2012), Mitchell works to raise respect and integrity for the improvised flute, to contribute her innovative voice to the jazz legacy, and to continue the bold and exciting directions that the AACM has charted for decades. With contemporary ensembles of varying instrumentation and size (from solo to orchestra), Mitchell's mission is to celebrate the power of endless possibility by "creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar and the unknown." She is endorsed by Powell flutes."-Nicole Mitchell Website (http://nicolemitchell.com/)
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• Show Bio for David Boykin
"David Boykin began studying music on the clarinet at the age of 21 in 1991 and first performed professionally in 1997. He has released 16 recordings as a leader; appeared as a featured guest on other prominent musician's recordings, such as Nicole Mitchell, Chad Taylor, Josh Abrams, and Mike Reed; performed at major international jazz festivals and smaller jazz venues locally and globally; and founded Sonic Healing Ministries, which is an organization dedicated to the spiritual evolution of humanity through music."
Awards and Grants: Individual Artist Program, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago, 2015; Midwest Nexus Touring Exchange, Links Hall, Chicago 2015; Artist in Residence University of Chicago Department of Arts and Public Life 2013/2014; Galaxy Award, Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, 2011; Illinois Arts Council Fellowship For Music Composition, 2005; CAAP Grant, Chicago Department Of Cultural Affairs, 2005; Arts International Fund For US Artists Performing Abroad, 2002;CAAP Grant, Chicago Department Of Cultural Affairs, 2000"-David Boykin Website (http://davidboykin.com/bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Tomeka Reid
"Chicago based cellist, composer and educator, Tomeka Reid has been described as "a remarkably versatile player," (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune). Equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, Ms. Reid predominantly finds herself in experimental and improvisatory settings and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble. Ms. Reid's music combines her love for groove along with freer concepts.
Ms. Reid is an integral part of Dee Alexander's Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble, and co-leads the internationally recognized string trio, Hear in Now with performances in Poznan, Poland; Paris, France; Rome, Venice, Milan, Italy; Soazza, Switzerland; and in the US: Chicago, New York and Vermont. In addition to the aforementioned ensembles, Ms. Reid performs with many of today's forward thinking musicians in the world of jazz and creative music including Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Jeb Bishop, Myra Melford, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mary Halvorson, Denis Fournier, Edward Wilkerson and Harrison Bankhead. Ms. Reid also leads her own trio featuring guitarist Matt Schneider and bassist Josh Abrams, for which she composes. Ms. Reid can be heard on numerous studio recordings.
As an educator, Ms. Reid has led string improvisation workshops in Italy and the US. Most recently she co-directed the 2012 Vancouver Jazz Festivalâ€™s High School Jazz Intensive. For seven years, Ms. Reid co-directed the string program at the University of Chicagoâ€™s Laboratory School for students grade 5 thru 12. Ms. Reid is also an ABD doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign.
As a composer, Ms. Reid has been commissioned by the AACM, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and has had several opportunities to showcase her work abroad at festivals such as Umbria Jazz, An Insolent Noise and Vignola Jazz. She has been nominated and awarded residencies for composition with the Ragdale Foundation and the 2nd Annual Make Jazz Fellowship hosted by the 18th Street Arts Organization. Ms. Reid was selected as a 2012 participant in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute held at the University of California: Los Angeles."-Tomeka Reid Website (http://www.tomekareid.net/)
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