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Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble
Thursday, April 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm$15 – $25
Nicole M. Mitchell is an award-winning creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. She is perhaps best known for her work as a flutist, having developed a unique improvisational language and having been repeatedly awarded “Top Flutist of the Year” by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association (2010-2017). Mitchell initially emerged from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late 90s, and her music celebrates contemporary African American culture. She is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Sonic Projections and Ice Crystal, and she composes for contemporary ensembles of varied instrumentation and size, while incorporating improvisation and a wide aesthetic expression. The former first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mitchell celebrates endless possibility by “creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar with the unknown.”
BLACK EARTH ENSEMBLE:
Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble (BEE) is a musical celebration of the African American cultural legacy. Founded and directed in 1998 by creative flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell, BEE has performed in festivals and art venues throughout Europe, Canada and throughout the U.S. BEE’s music embraces the ancient past and paints visions of a positive future. The music is the weaving of swing, blues, avante garde jazz, bebop, African rhythms, Eastern modes and Western classical sounds. The name “Black Earth” was chosen to honor the feminine source that our lives depend on—Mother Earth. The purpose of Black Earth Ensemble is to inspire the human spirit with thought-provoking beauty and to present a positive, healthy and culturally aware image of African Americans. As a woman-directed, co-ed, multi-generational group, it touches a range of emotional spaces rarely expressed in a “jazz” setting. Black Earth’s message is intended for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. BEE has five critically acclaimed CDs: Vision Quest (Dreamtime), Afrika Rising (Dreamtime), Hope, Future and Destiny (Dreamtime), Black Unstoppable (Delmark) and Xenogenesis Suite (Delmark).
Xenogenesis: A Tribute to Octavia Butler:
Nicole Mitchell’s suite Xenogenesis is inspired by the Afrofuturist science fiction writer Octavia Butler. Commissioned by Chamber Music America with the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Mitchell composed a suite that evokes journey into the horrific, yet fascinating unknown. Xenogenesis Suite premiered at the Vision Festival XII in New York in 2007. The Xenogenesis Project has been recorded on Firehouse 12 Records.
photos: Dawid Laskowski
Xenogenesis: A Tribute to Octavia Butler
Nicole Mitchell – flute, compositions
Fay Victor – vocals
Darius Jones – alto sax
Joshua White – piano
Chris Williams – trumpet
Teddy Rankin-Parker – cello
Ken Filiano – contrabass
Pheeroan akLaff – drums