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The 'Artifacts' (482 Music) of AACM Stalwarts Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Mike Reed (REVIEW)

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com on Nov 11, 2015 08:23 PM EST
Nicole Mitchell AACM Alum Nicole Mitchell (Photo : courtesy Fully Altered Media)

In 1965, on Chicago's Southside, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was formed. 50 years later, it's still going and growing strong. On Artifacts (482 Music), three of its most distinguished members--Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed--look back yet look forward at the same time in celebration of the AACM.

Nicole Mitchell, for the first time, has added a new toy to her arsenal. Her high-flying flute is now augmented by electronics. It blends bodaciously with Mike Reed's drums and Tomeka Reid's cello. Thank of it: flute, cello, drums. The material is all by AACM members like Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill's Air, Amina Claudine Myers and others, nine in all, making for an hour+ of progressive, indefinable creativity. The Abrams piece, "Munkt Munk," is a confounding, confusing, circuitous delight that upsets gravity. I swear, in trying to concentrate on its circular essence, I had to hold on to the edge of my desk.

Drummer Reed, who usually can be found leading his People, Places and Things quartet, his Loose Assembly quintet or booking acts into Chicago's Constellation, is constantly pushing the action forward. Cellist Reid conceived this project when she was offered an AACM-related concert in Seattle. Flutist Mitchell, now living and teaching at the University of California, Irvine, was thrilled at the prospect.

All three brought their favorite AACM tunes to the studio and worked them out: from Roscoe Mitchell's 1966 "Jo Jar" to Jeff Parker's "Days Fly By With Ruby." Parker invented his composition while borrowing liberally from Fred Anderson's "Bernice" so on Artifacts, both creations are welded together. Violinist Leroy Jenkins' "The Clowns" is one of those amorphous pieces designed for instant composition via improvisation. My only question is when will the AACM have franchises in every major city?

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TagsAACM, REVIEW, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Mike Reed

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