Album Review

Mitchell, Nicole Sonic Projections – “Emerald Hills” – [Rogueart]

Thurston Hunger   9/7/2012   CD, Jazz

Love this label, but love this artist her flute and her
compositions even more. Super artfilled songs, instilled
with sense of thrill coming from a very charged up Chad??
Taylor (Chicago Underground XXXXX). Hear him ignite the
sputter step of “Visitations” which then goes drum free
before a powerhouse 60’s style sprawl. He bakes on
“Chocololate Chips” and is California cool on “Affirmations”
But Mitchell is the story here, so good at drawing you into
every song, like a writer who can entice in a paragraph, her
solo flute beckoning on the outset of “Peace” (a study in
shades of serenity) and especially “Wild Life” (where you
feel the call of Pan and the garden), are just fantastic.
“Wishes” has these music questions hung on Craig Taborn’s
piano. You want the poetic thought-strike jazz speak, dig
“Ritual and Rebellion” with overlapping voices. The music
revels in grace and energy, and you can hear it in Nicole’s
voice edging towards song early on in “Affirmations.” Echoes
of the soul jazz celebrations, but her compositions have
more open clarity than the elements of earth and funk.
For people who “don’t like jazz” spend time with this
and have your mind and ears changed. Her interplay with
Boykin is very simpatico, she knows when to bring him in
to help add ballast when the flute could leave things up
in the air too much. Like her “Hope, Future and Destiny”
this is a release that will get revived and revive every
year in the KFJC waves. -Thurston Hunger

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