Mitchell, Roscoe (with Craig Taborn / Kikanju Baku)
The trio of AACM legend Roscoe Mitchell on sax and flute, Craig Taborn on piano, organ and synth, and Kikanju Baku on drums & percussion, in the first of two "conversational" albums of advanced and dynamic improv in a forceful and captivating set of group compositions.
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Label: Wide Hive
Catalog ID: WHR031728
Squidco Product Code: 20274
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Wide Hive Records Berkeley, California, on September 13th and 14th, 2013 by Gregory Howe and Jimmy Fontana.
Roscoe Mitchell-saxophones, flutes
Craig Taborn-piano, organ, synthesizer
Kikanju Baku-drums, percussion
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• Show Bio for Roscoe Mitchell
"Roscoe Mitchell (born August 3, 1940) is an American composer, jazz instrumentalist, and educator, known for being "a technically superb - if idiosyncratic - saxophonist." The Penguin Guide to Jazz described him as "one of the key figures" in avant-garde jazz; All About Jazz states that he has been "at the forefront of modern music" for the past 35 years. Critic Jon Pareles in The New York Times has mentioned that Mitchell "qualifies as an iconoclast." In addition to his own work as a bandleader, Mitchell is known for cofounding the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).
Mitchell was born in Chicago, Illinois. He also grew up in the Chicago area, where he played saxophone and clarinet at around age twelve. His family was always involved in music with many different styles playing in the house when he was a child as well as having a secular music background. His brother, Norman, in particular was the one who introduced Mitchell to jazz. While attending Englewood High School in Chicago, he furthered his study of the clarinet. In the 1950s, he joined the United States Army, during which time he was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany and played in a band with fellow saxophonists Albert Ayler and Rubin Cooper, the latter of which Mitchell commented "took me under his wing and taught me a lot of stuff." He also studied under the first clarinetist of the Heidelberg Symphony while in Germany. Mitchell returned to the United States in the early 1960s, relocated to the Chicago area, and performed in a band with Wilson Junior College undergraduates Malachi Favors (bass), Joseph Jarman, Henry Threadgill, and Anthony Braxton (all saxophonists). Mitchell also studied with Muhal Richard Abrams and played in his band, the Muhal Richard Abrams' Experimental Band, starting in 1961.
In 1965, Mitchell was one of the first members of the non-profit organization Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) along with Jodie Christian (piano), Steve McCall (drums), and Phil Cohran (composer). The following year Mitchell, Lester Bowie (trumpet), Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre (tenor saxophone), Favors, Lester Lashley (trombone), and Alvin Fielder (drums), recorded their first studio album, Sound. The album was "a departure from the more extroverted work of the New York-based free jazz players" due in part to the band recording with "unorthodox devices" such as toys and bicycle horns.
From 1967 Mitchell, Bowie, Favors and, on occasion, Jarman performed as the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble, then the Art Ensemble, and finally in 1969 were billed as the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The group included Phillip Wilson on drums for short span before he joined Paul Butterfield's band. The group lived and performed in Europe from 1969 to 1971, though they arrived without any percussionist after Wilson left. To fill the void, Mitchell commented that they "evolved into doing percussion ourselves." The band did eventually get a percussionist, Don Moye, who Mitchell had played with before and was living in Europe at that time. For performances, the band often wore brilliant African costumes and painted their faces. The Art Ensemble of Chicago have been described as becoming "possibly the most highly acclaimed jazz band" in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mitchell and the others returned to the States in 1971. After having been back in Chicago for three years, Mitchell then established the Creative Arts Collective (CAC) in 1974 that had a similar musical aesthetic to the AACM. The group was based in East Lansing, Michigan and frequently performed in auditoriums at Michigan State University. Mitchell also formed the Sound Ensemble in the early 1970s, an "outgrowth of the CAC" in his words, that consisted mainly of Mitchell, Hugh Ragin, Jaribu Shahid, Tani Tabbal, and Spencer Barefield.
In the 1990s, Mitchell started to experiment in classical music with such composers/artists such as Pauline Oliveros, Thomas Buckner, and Borah Bergman, the latter two of which formed a trio with Mitchell called Trio Space. Buckner was also part of another group with Mitchell and Gerald Oshita called Space in the late 1990s. He then conceived the Note Factory in 1992 with various old and new collaborators as another evolution of the Sound Ensemble.
He lived in the area of Madison, Wisconsin and performed with a re-assembled Art Ensemble of Chicago. In 1999, the band was hit hard with the death of Bowie, but Mitchell fought off the urge to recast his position in the group, stating simply "You can't do that" in an interview with Allaboutjazz.com editor-in-chief Fred Jung. The band continued on despite the loss.
Mitchell has made a point of working with younger musicians in various ensembles and combinations, many of whom were not yet born when the first Art Ensemble recordings were made. Mainly from Chicago, these players include trumpeter Corey Wilkes, bassist Karl E. H. Seigfried, and drummer Isaiah Spencer.
In 2007, Mitchell was named Darius Milhaud Chair of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California, where he currently lives. Mitchell was chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in March 2012 in Minehead, England."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roscoe_Mitchell)
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• Show Bio for Craig Taborn
"Craig Marvin Taborn (/ˈteɪˌbɔːrn/; born February 20, 1970) is an American pianist, organist, keyboardist and composer. He works solo and in bands, mostly playing various forms of jazz. He started playing piano and Moog synthesizer as an adolescent and was influenced at an early stage by a wide range of music, including by the freedom expressed in recordings of free jazz and contemporary classical music.
While at university, Taborn toured and recorded with jazz saxophonist James Carter. Taborn went on to play with numerous other musicians in electronic and acoustic settings, while also building a reputation as a solo pianist. He has a range of styles, and often adapts his playing to the nature of the instrument and the sounds that he can make it produce. His improvising, particularly for solo piano, often adopts a modular approach, in which he begins with small units of melody and rhythm and then develops them into larger forms and structures.
In 2011, Down Beat magazine chose Taborn as winner of the electric keyboard category, as well as rising star in both the piano and organ categories. By May 2016, Taborn had released six albums under his own name and appeared on more than eighty as a sideman."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Taborn)
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1. Knock And Roll 8:20
2. Ride The Wind 7:29
3. Distant Radio Transmission 15:06
4. RUB 4:09
5. Who Dat 6:36
6. Spaltter 4:53
7. Cracked Roses 5:59
8. Outpost Nine Calling 8:58
9. Darse 5:48
10. Last Trane For Clover Five 9:07
sample the album:
"With Conversations I, Roscoe Mitchell releases his second album as a leader on the Wide Hive label. Teamed up with Craig Taborn on piano, organ and synthesizers and Kikanju Baku (who?!?!) on drums and percussions, Roscoe, at the tender age of 73 delivers again. Roscoe has always used space and silence almost as much as he has sound. A feature of his sound since his AEC days I expected much of the same.
With little pre-release info, and no sound samples to give me any clue as to what to expect, I inserted the cd and excitedly pressed play. Track 1. "Knock And Roll". Instantly came the trademark sound of Roscoe. Sparse and dissonance. Slowly building, Taborn and Baku inserting ideas here and there. Engaging and what I expected. Then around the 1 minute mark, Baku starts to really get going. This led to more from Roscoe, while Taborn interjected notes around the percussion and reeds dance. And then all hell breaks loose. An absolutely unexpected and delightful free-for-all in sound. Bells, horns, drums, and piano exploding from my speakers. For the next 6 minutes I was left breathless. I was actually concerned with getting through the entire album because I had not mentally prepared myself for the onslaught. And suddenly at the 8:16 mark it all stops.
Track 2 starts. "Ride The Wind". And we are back to the Roscoe I've grown accustom to. The rest of Conversations I, plays out as expected with a Roscoe led album. For the next 9 tracks the music bobs and weaves, slowly building to a crescendo of noise at track 9, "Darse" only to lovingly slow and end on the final song "Last Trane To Clover Five".
After the initial shock of "Knock And Roll" the album falls into place and becomes a standard, as if anything Roscoe does is standard, addition to his his ever growing discography. In all, Roscoe once again delivers, Craig Taborn displays his connection with Roscoe, as well as his ability to play the perfect supporting role. The unknown here was Kikanju Baku (literally his face is covered in all images), who I had never heard before. After the opening track it was surprising and pleasant to hear Baku play delicately and in-tune with the rest of the trio. Kikanju Baku should be a force within the free jazz world and I'm looking forward to more of his contributions. His addition made this album stand out to my ears."-Josh Campbell, freejazzblog.com
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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