The second astounding album from Chicago Flutist Nicole Mitchell on the FPE label, continuing her project in the sphere of Sun Ra and Afrofuturists, merging fiction, fantasy and sound in an electro-chamber octet, encompassing contemporary classical, globally oriented fusion, gospel, avant-rock, spoken word, and funk-inspired groove research.
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Label: FPE Records
Catalog ID: FPE 012LP
Squidco Product Code: 24541
Format: 2 LPs
Packaging: LP - Gatefold
Recorded at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Chicago, Illinois, on May 2nd, 2015, by Caleb Willitz.
Nicole Mitchell-composer, flute
Tomeka Reid-cello, banjo
Alex Wing-electric guitar, oud
Tatsu Aoki-bass, shamisen, taiko
Avery R. Young-vocals
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1. Egoes War 7:36
2. Sub-mission 5:36
3. The Chalice 2:49
4. Dance Of Many Hands 5:48
1. Listening Embrace 12:06
2. Forestwall Timewalk 4:55
1. Staircase Struggle 9:48
2. Shiny Divider 8:07
1. Mandorla Island 10:23
2. TimeWrap 7:16
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"Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds is Nicole Mitchell's second album for Chicago-based FPE Records. Composer and flutist Nicole Mitchell, once hailed by Chicago Reader music critic Peter Margasak as the 'greatest living flutist in jazz', continues the work begun when jazz visionary Sun Ra and his Arkestra first touched down on Planet Earth and told humanity that space (outer and inner) is indeed the place.
As with contemporary Afrofuturist pioneers like cosmic jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington, post-everything beat maker Flying Lotus, R and B cyborg Janelle Mone and dystopian noise-rappers Death Grips, she uses Afrofuturism as a platform to launch her own, unique vision. Her vast sound often encompasses contemporary classical, globally oriented fusion, gospel, spoken word, funk-inspired groove research and even brittle shards of avant-rock.
Mandorla Awakening II collides dualities such as acoustic vs electric, country vs urban, simple vs complex, while also sounding through intercultural dialogue between Black, European and Pan-Asian improvisational languages. The outcome is a creative music suite that blurs musical styles into recognizable fragments that weave a unique sound fabric, where human emotion and the struggles of today swim."-FPEAlso available on CD.
• 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 Renee Baker
"Renèe Baker has been at the extreme forefront of creative/avant garde music whiledeveloping this unique ensemble since 1991. Utilizing some of the finest musicians that cross the classical world as well as jazz greates, she has crafted a group of the best traditionalists and married them to dedicated improvisors. A true genre bending experience- her skills as a conductor and musician coordinator have been used by some of the finest musical organizaitons in Chicago.
Ms. Baker is also the Artistic Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta Chamber Ensemble as well as Mantra Blue Free Orchestra. As an improvisor,Renèe has performed and recorded with Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Stringa, Karl E. H. Seigfried's New Quartet and Galaxy String Quartet, the David Boykin Expanse, Orbert Davis, George Lewis, Mwata Bowden, the Great Black Music Ensemble, the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. She is a member of the Chamber of the AACM, Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. In recent years, Renèe has premiered original compositions with the Chicago Sinfonietta, The Joffrey Ballet Chamber Series, and as part of the PionoForte Salon Series and the Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy.) Future collaborations will include MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Chiago Architecture Foundation, South Shore Cultural Center, among others.
Renèe is Principal Violinist of the Internationally renowned Chicago Sinfonietta; she has worked with the orchestra since its founding in 1987. She has been a participant in many international music festivals includign Classical Music Festival (Eisenstadt, Austria), and Philomusica di Chicago (Martigues, France.) She has performed extensively throughout Africa, Asia and Europe.
Her debut at the prestigious Ravinia Festival was as the viola soloist for "Don Quixote" (Strauss), in which she partnered with John Sharp, Principal Cellist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has performed numerous solo recitals at venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center, and she has been a featured performer with many chamber music ensembles, including her own FAQtet - an ensemble that primarily performs classical repertoire by African-American composers. CMOP represents her debut as a conductor and composer-in-residence of this new music ensemble."-Chicago Modern Orchestra Project (http://www.chicagomodernorchestraproject.org/artistic-director/)
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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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• Show Bio for Alex Wing
Guitarist and Oud player Alex Wing, born March 12, 1981 in Brooklyn, NY, has worked at Musician at Clinard Dance and Music Instructor at Intonation Music, and Hyde Park Suzuki Institute and The University of Chicago. He studied Music at the University of Chicago. He currently lives in Chicago.-Squidco 9/18/2017
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• Show Bio for JoVia Armstrong
"Daringly innovative, percussionist and educator JoVia Armstrong is a well-traveled musician and a Sabian endorsee. Detroit bred, she is winner of the 2014 Best Black Female Percussionist of the Year through the Black Women in Jazz Awards.
Jovia received the 3Arts Siragusa Foundation Artist Award in 2011 for her work as an educator. She is a member of Chicago soul group JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound and a member and writer behind World /Jazz group Musique Noire. Their debut CD "Good Hair" in 2008 was nominated for three Detroit Music Awards. They recently won the 2015 Best Black Female Jazz Group through Black Women in Jazz Awards.
Jovia released her debut album, "Fuzzy Blue Robe Chronicles" in 2009. She has performed with El DeBarge, Rahsaan Patterson, Maysa, Eric Roberson, Frank McComb, Res, Omar, The Impressions, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, Malian musicians Ballaké Sissoko & Babani Kone, Joe VasConcellos and Martha Reeves."-Gon Bops Website (http://www.gonbops.com/artists/jovia-armstrong/)
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• Show Bio for Tatsu Aoki
"Tatsu Aoki is a prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate bassist and Shamisen Lute player. Based in Chicago, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental and creative music.
Aoki was born in 1957 in Tokyo, Japan into an artisan family called TOYOAKI MOTO, traditionally categorized as OKIYA, meaning a booking and training agent for Geisha ladies in downtown Tokyo's designated area. While the economy and social environment forced many of those traditional artisan family business to close down in the 60's , Aoki was luckily able to receive some of the important essence of traditional Tokyo Geisha cultural training and studies at age 4, and became a part of the performing crew in early childhood. After his grand mother passed away, he had kept the Tokyo music training until early teen, and shifted his musical focus to American pop music and experimental music. Since his biological father was a movie producer at Shin Toho Studio, he had also began working in small gage films and started to produce experimental films.Aoki was active performer during the early 70's in the mist of Tokyo Underground Arts movement. Became a member of Japanese Experimental Music ensemble, GINTENKAI presenting mixture of traditional music and new western music. After coming to U.S. in 1977, Aoki studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently an adjunct Full Professor at the Film, Video and New Media Department, and teaches film production and history courses. During the late 80's, Aoki has become a leading advocate for Chicago's Asian American community and one of Chicago's most in-demand musicians on both contrabass, taiko (Japanese drums) and shamisen (Japanese lute). Working in film and music.
Under those environments of his childhood, Aoki has inherited historical and traditional essence of Tokyo Entertainment district's musical concepts, basics and value of flexible creations and applications. With the fall of these special districts in the late 60's and early 70's, the Tokyo's regional Entertainment musical concepts also disappears and as many other art form did, Tokyo Geisha music had institutionalized.
For Aoki, one of the most important goal is to preserve the original essence of fluidity and flexibility and perform rawness of REAL sound. He has adopted this idea to newer works as well.
To this date, Aoki has produced and appears in more than 90 recording projects and over 30 experimental films and working internationally. He is one of the most recorded artists in Chicago music scene. Among many of recordings, he has worked with musical masters and legends and produced remarkable duets works with bassist, Malachi Favors, multi instrumentalists such as Roscoe Mitchell, Don Moye and world renowned Pipa virtuoso, Wu Man and another Chicago legend, late Fred Anderson.
Using Taiko drumming as a signature, Aoki's solo bass performances project BASSE LIVE and recordings are known for one of the most innovative approaches to the instrument internationally.
Aoki's one of the most important ensemble works, ROOTED: Origins of Now, a 50 minute 4 movement suite, was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival in September 2001. Because of this work, the Chicago Tribute recognized Tatsu Aoki as "Chicagoans of the Year.", one of the group of Chicagoans who has contributed to the vitality and culture of Chicago by the Chicago Tribune or the City. The Chicago Tribune stated that Rooted had "come into its own as an eloquent, often dramatic merger of ancient Japanese music and experimental American jazz." JAZZIZ, magazine, recognized Aoki one of one of many artists who has changed jazz since 1980." For his contribution to Chicago area arts, Asian American Institute has given Mile Stone Award in 2007, and Japan America Society of Chicago has given Cultural Achievement Award for his cultural activities in arts in Chicago land in 2010. He is also a recipient of 2010 3Arts Artist Award.
As an Executive Director of AIRMW, Aoki has initiated and managed several programs to advance the understanding of Asian American culture and community through the arts, including the Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and the Tsukasa Taiko Legacy arts residency project. His work as an artist and educator in the cultural arts and as a leader in the Asian American community address as well as define the issues facing the community, including the need for quality artistic programs that reflect the Asian American experience."-Tatsu Aoki Website (http://www.tatsuaoki.com/biography.html)
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• Show Bio for Kojiro Umezaki
"Kojiro Umezaki is a performer of the shakuhachi, a composer of electro-acoustic works, and a specialist in developing music-technology systems for live performance. He performs regularly with the Silk Road Ensemble.
Notable recordings include Brooklyn Rider's Dominant Curve (In A Circle, 2010); The Silk Road Ensemble's Beyond the Horizon (Sony BMG, 2005), New Impossibilities (Sony BMG, 2007), Off the Map (World Village, 2009-Grammy Award nominee), and A Playlist Without Borders (Sony Masterworks, 2013); Yo-Yo Ma's Appassionato (Sony BMG, 2007) and Songs of Joy and Peace (Sony BMG, 2008-Grammy Award winner); Huun-Huur Tu's Ancestors Call (World Village, 2010); Beat in Fractions' Beat Infraction (Healthy Boys, 2007); and The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan (Smithsonian Folkways, 2002). His most recent album of mostly original works is (Cycles) (In A Circle, 2014).
Alongside creative research in contemporary intercultural practices in music associated with the historic Silk Road regions, he is a developer of portable and mobile interactive music systems and a creator of mixed-media collaborative works with interests in forms of hybrid music at the intersection of tradition and technology.
Since 2012, he has been involved with Turnaround Arts, a White House initiative under the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Born and raised in Tokyo, he holds a degree in Electro-acoustic Music from Dartmouth College."-UCI School of the Arts (http://music.arts.uci.edu/faculty/kojiro-umezaki)
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• Show Bio for Avery R. Young
"Best known as a poet, songwriter, and performer, multi-disciplinary artist Avery R. Young is also an award-winning teaching artist who mentors youths in the crafts of creative writing and theater. He has been an Arts and Public Life Artist-In-Residence at the University of Chicago and has written curriculum for Columbia College Chicago, Young Leeds Authors, True Star Magazine, and Chicago Public Schools Art Integration Department. Young's poems and essays on HIV awareness, misogyny, race records, and art integration have been published in The BreakBeat Poets, The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, AIMPrint, and other anthologies.
His album booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid combines his poetry and sound design to discuss matters of race, gender, and sexuality in America during the Obama Era. Avery's work in performance, visual text, and sound design has been featured in several exhibitions and online publications---notably The Hip Hop Theatre Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art, and American Jazz Museum. He currently works as a teaching artist, mentoring Rebirth Youth Poetry Ensemble and performing with his band, de deacon board."-3Arts (https://www.3arts.org/artist/avery-young/)
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