The Squid's Ear Magazine


Artifacts (Nicole Mitchell / Tomeka Reid / Mike Reed): ...and then there's this [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

Confirming their place in Chicago's improv legacy, the second album from the Artifacts Trio of Nicole Mitchell on flute & electronics, Tomeka Reid on cello and Mike Reed on drums & percussion expand the AACM canon with compositions from each member, plus several insightful and lively collective improvisations and one piece each from Roscoe Mitchell and Muhal Richard Abrams.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Nicole Mitchell-flute, electronics

Tomeka Reid-cello

Mike Reed-drums, percussion


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Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS139LP
Squidco Product Code: 31499

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 recorded by Dorian Gehring.

Tracks 2, 8 recorded by Nick Lloyd.

Track 9 recorded by Cooper Crain

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"The members of the all-star Artifacts Trio - flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid and drummer Mike Reed - have long been recognized as torchbearers of Chicago's innovative jazz scene, as well as the most prominent performer-educators in the third generation of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM), the historically vital, leading-edge Chicago arts organization. The trio served on the organization's executive board from 2009-2011, and their music advances the organization's motto, "Ancient to the Future," celebrating African-American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new, progressive ideas into the legacy of jazz and composition. The first Artifacts Trio release, 2015's Artifacts, showcased classic compositions by such AACM composers as Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Hopkins, Leroy Jenkins, Amina Claudie Meyers, Steve McCall, Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams. The album placed in lists of top albums for 2015 on NPR as well as in The New York Times and All About Jazz, among others. New York Times critic Ben Ratliff declared Artifacts to be "exceptional," while The Free Jazz Collective dubbed the band "a next-generation AACM dream team." Now, the second Artifacts Trio album - ...and then there's this, to be released digitally and on CD via Astral Spirits Records on October 29, 2021 - furthers the evolution of the band by featuring compositions by each member of the trio, plus interpretations of more pieces by Mitchell and Abrams.

Reviewing the band live, The New York Times encapsulated the Artifacts Trio sound: "Nicole Mitchell's flute and Tomeka Reid's cello met with Mike Reed's cymbal-heavy drumming to make an aqueous sound that allowed itself to be warped and melted and spread about by the room." As for their recordings so far, Tomeka Reid explains the trio's intent: "The aim with our first record was to honor classic AACM composers - to bring our own approach to some of our favorite pieces by them, pieces that we thought would work especially well with our distinctive instrumentation. For this second album, we wanted to underscore that theme while also recognizing that we ourselves are also AACM composers - we want to contribute to that canon of music."

For all its ambitions, "the Artifacts Trio is a fun band - because the three of us have been close friends for many years," Nicole Mitchell says. "I don't think we can separate our friendships from the music. This project has been a way to celebrate our mutual inspiration from the AACM, while also learning more about how to support each other's musical aesthetic - and the free improvisations on the album reflect how we've grown together. The new album is also more focused on groove than our debut, and this is the first record together where we are supporting each other as composers - contributing to each other's arrangements, developing more of a vibe in our grooves, and getting almost telepathically close in our open improvisations. Our initial album, Artifacts, was the first real project where I incorporated electronics through the use of guitar pedals - in this space, that sort of experimental approach is welcome. This is a band that enables each of us to stretch out and try new things."

Along with collaborating with each other in various settings over the years, each of the musicians of the Artifacts Trio leads his or her own bands, having established strong artistic profiles in their own rights. Mitchell - an award-winning composer, bandleader and soloist, as well as the new director of jazz studies at the University of Pittsburgh's Deitrich School - has released many albums by various incarnations of her Black Earth Ensemble, as well as by diverse bands chronicling a series of album-length suites. JazzTimes has praised Mitchell as embodying "a bold, creative spirit." Reid - who teaches composition at Mills College in Oakland - has released two albums leading an all-star quartet with guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tomas Fujiwara; she also co-leads the string trio Hear In Now. The New York Times has praised Reid as "a melodic improviser with a natural, flowing sense of song." Reed leads the quartet People, Places & Things and the quintet Loose Assembly, and he also operates the celebrated Windy City multi-arts venue Constellation; all of which led the Chicago Tribune to call him "a center of gravity for music in Chicago (and beyond)."

Describing Reid's qualities, Mitchell says: "Tomeka is such an amazing, virtuosic player - her sense of rhythm is impeccable, her creativity unstoppable. No matter what I send her way - no matter how challenging it is - I know she will master it. That's a great feeling to know you can try anything and Tomeka is up for it. I have probably played with Tomeka in more diverse contexts than anyone else in my world. Whether I want to bounce, swing, hip hop, make chaos, play intricate line or blurry textures, she's ready." About Mitchell, Reed says: "Nicole really does challenge us to develop as musicians. It could be a specific beat or an improvising concept - whatever it is, her compositions always require me to learn something." As for Reed, the cellist says: "He is always trying to expand his sound in very thoughtful yet subtle ways. It's exciting to see what new sound Mike is going to bring to a set."

Whether atmospheric ("J.J."), hard-grooving ("In Response To") or explosive ("Pleasure Palace"), the trio aimed for each original piece on ...and then there's this to have "its own distinct sonic characteristics and rhythmic identity," Reed explains. "We wanted to avoid thinking in terms of traditional references, like 'swing' or a generic 'Afro-Cuban' style." Regarding the included compositions by Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell, Reid says: "I loved Muhal's 'Soprano Song' when I first heard it, years ago. It's got a really funky groove that's fun to play, plus a finger-twisty head. I was introduced to 'No Side Effects' while playing in the Art Ensemble of Chicago, but I think we've all played it with Roscoe at some point. Our version is a little reggae-inspired, which was fun!"

Musing on the trio's connection to its AACM forebears and the band's devotion to carrying that legacy forward in new work, Mitchell concludes: "Musically, the spirit of the AACM is so rich - it's about originality, experimentation, Blackness. It's about a legacy emerging from the Black Arts Movement of Chicago. It's about mentorship and intergenerational inspiration. It's about Afrofuturism before it had the name Afrofuturism. It's about making space to assert who you are as an individual of the African Diaspora, when society wants to put you in a Black box. The Artifacts Trio has soaked up the influences of Muhal, Roscoe and all the others. There's more to celebrate - but also so much more we can do to move the legacy forward, to create as a trio with our own compositions. The possibilities are endless." "-Astral Spirits


Artist Biographies

"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/)
2/26/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"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 Festival’s High School Jazz Intensive. For seven years, Ms. Reid co-directed the string program at the University of Chicago’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/)
2/26/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Mike Reed (b. Bielefeld, Germany May 26, 1974) is a musician, composer, bandleader and arts presenter based in Chicago. Over the last two decades he has emerged as a dominant force within Chicago's diverse artistic community, both through the music he makes and the live events he produces. In addition to leading or co-leading several working bands, all rooted deeply in jazz and improvised music, he's founding director of the Pitchfork Music Festival, the current programming chair of the Chicago Jazz Festival, and the owner and director of the acclaimed performing arts venue Constellation. He is a devoted cultural advocate committed to providing platforms for artistic expression unhindered by commercial pressures. In 2016 he also became the owner of the Hungry Brain, a cozy neighborhood tavern that's been a fulcrum for live creative music and socially-driven public programs.

His long-running post-bop quartet People, Places & Things has collaborated with guest musicians like Ira Sullivan, Julian Priester, Art Hoyle, Craig Taborn, and Matthew Shipp over the years. An expanded iteration of that project called Flesh & Bone, augmented by additional horn players and vocalist/poet Marvin Tate Reed, has pushed the project in new directions. The endeavor was initiated by the leader's deeply personal reaction to a race riot he found himself in the midst of in the town of Prerov in the Czech Republic during a 2009 tour. Reed also leads an improvisation-heavy quintet called Loose Assembly as well as the expansive octet Living by Lanterns (with includes guitarist Mary Halvorson, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock). Over the last couple of years he's played in Artifacts, a collective trio with flutist Nicole Mitchell and cellist Tomeka Reid, devoted to interpreting music by members of the AACM-a body of work rarely interpreted by musicians other than the composers.

In addition to forging ongoing collaborative relationships with first-wave AACM figures like the legendary reedist Roscoe Mitchell and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, Reed remains a lynchpin in his native city, working as a key member of vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz's trio Sun Rooms as well as the octet led by bassist Jason Roebke. Over the years he was worked with Chicago musicians like guitarist Jeff Parker, flutist Nicole Mitchell, saxophonists Fred Anderson, and cornetist Rob Mazurek. He's a member of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), where he served as vice-chairperson between 2009-2011. Downbeat Magazine has regularly recognized Reed as Jazz Artist, Rising Star in in its annual Critics Poll since 2009, and one of the 80 Best Things About Jazz in its 80th Anniversary issue. In 2010 The Chicago Tribune named Reed as one of its Chicagoans of the year and in 2014 Chicago Magazine cited him as the 94th most powerful and influential person in the city. In 2016 Reed was awarded a prestigious United States Artists fellowship from the Doris Duke Foundation, recognized for his "unique artistic voice that expands the creative environment of the United States."

Reed's organizational talents first surfaced when he and cornetist Josh Berman launched the Sunday Transmission series at the Hungry Brain in 2000. That weekly series as remained a crucial nexus of performance and socializing for jazz and improvised musicians in Chicago, and it opened the door for Reed's entrepreneurial side. In 2005 he parlayed his increased experience into large multi-day music festivals in partnership with the influential music website Pitchfork; the event is now one of the most important summer music festivals in the world. Soon he joined the committee that programs the annual Chicago Jazz Festival-the largest free jazz festival in the world. He also helped launch the city's Downtown Sound music series, a free weekly concert program presented in Millennium Park that has featured an eclectic mix of indie rock, world music, and contemporary soul, and he remains involved with its programming.

His interest in programming a widening range of performance reached its apex in the spring of 2013 when he opened Constellation, a multi-room venue that rapidly made its mark on the local arts scene. From the outset he partnered with the renowned Chicago dance organization Links Hall to program nightly events. As a building partner, Links Hall brings decades of experience fostering artistic growth in dance, performance art, film and other media, while Reed has quickly established Constellation as a hothouse for jazz, improvised, experimental, and contemporary classical music. Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune has called it, "one of the most important rooms in the city," and in its first year in business, the Chicago Reader named the space the Best New Music Venue."

-Mike Reed Website (https://www.mikereed-music.com/about)
2/26/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Pleasure Palace 3:19

2. A.F. 3:30

3. Blessed 4:25

4. In Response To 3:17

5. Reflections 4:13

SIDE B



1. Song for Helena 6:43

2. Soprano Song 3:31

3. J.J. 7:18

4. No Side Effects 2:23

Related Categories of Interest:


Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Trio Recordings
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Astral Spirits.


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