Hour 1: The Renewal of AACM: Nicole Mitchell, Mike Reed, Tomeka Reid, Matana Roberts

Nicole Mitchell


Welcome to Jazz at 100 Today!  We now have virtually instant access to 100 years of recorded jazz, documenting broad sweeps of creativity and innovation. With this abundance of music at our fingertips, it can be difficult for working musicians to be heard.  Jazz at 100 Today! celebrates the incredible music of the living treasures who keep pushing boundaries while standing on the shoulders of giants.

In 100 one-hour programs, the series Jazz at 100 told the story of recorded jazz. It established the foundations upon which is built the broadly diverse music of today. This is the first hour of the successor series which aims to give voice to the current jazz scene and appreciates its countless creators.

In 1965, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was founded with the motto, “Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future”. In 2015, AACM celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and, with recent strong outings from Nicole Mitchell, Mike Reed, Tomeka Reid and Matana Roberts, has been having a compelling renewal. Recent music from the storied AACM in this hour of Jazz at 100 Today!

Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things and Flesh and Bone
One of the most highly regarded discs of 2015 was A New Kind of Dance from Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things. The disc features Reed’s working quartet of Greg Ward on alto, Tim Haldeman on tenor, Jason Roebke on bass and the leader on drums. For this outing pianist Matthew Shipp joins for four tunes and trumpeter Marquis Hill for another trio. With Shipp at his funkiest, we’ll hear Fear Not of Man, followed by Kwela for Taylor with the three-horn front line including Marquis Hill.

With his quartet supplemented by Ben Lamar Gay on cornet and Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Reed released his disc Flesh and Bone in 2017. Making the most of the interplay between the players in the expanded frontline, we’ll hear Watching the Boats.

Fear Not of Man. Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things with Matthew Shipp
(Greg Ward-as, Tim Haldeman-ts, Matthew Shipp-p, Jason Roebke-b, Mike Reed-d). From A New Kind of Dance. 482 Music. 2015.
Kwela for Taylor. Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things with Marquis Hill
(Marquis Hill-tp, Greg Ward-as, Tim Haldeman-ts, Jason Roebke-b, Mike Reed-d). From A New Kind of Dance. 482 Music 1092. 2015.
Watching The Boats. Mike Reed’s Flesh & Bone
(Ben Lamar Gay-cor, Greg Ward-as, Tim Haldeman-ts, Jason Stein-bcl, Jason Roebke-b, Mike Reed-d, Marvin Tate-voc). From Flesh & Bone. 482 Music. 2017

Mike Reed, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid
In 2015, Mike Reid collaborated with flutist Nicole Mitchell and cellist Tomeka Reid in a well-received release, Artifacts, that paid respect to the first generation of AACM musicians. The Roscoe Mitchell tune Jo Jar was originally recorded in 1966 just after the founding of AACM and was dedicated to fellow founder Joseph Jarman.

Of Tomeka Reid’s release, Old New, Ian Patterson wrote at AllAbout Jazz, “As the title suggests, Old New is both backward and forward-looking at the same time, typified by the bracingly contemporary take on the old standard ‘Wabash Blues,’ which sees feisty solos, teetering on the edge of dissonance, by Reid and guitarist Mary Halvorson.”

Jo Jar. Nicole Mitchell – Tomeka Reid – Mike Reed Trio
(Nicole Mitchell-fl, Tomeka Reid-cel, Mike Reed-d). From Artifacts. 482 Music. 2015.
Wabash Blues. Tomeka Reid Quartet
(Mary Halvorson-g, Tomeka Reid-cel, Jason Roebke-b, Tomas Fujiwara-d). From Old New. Cuneiform Records. 2019.

Nicole Mitchell
In 2017, flutist Nicole Mitchell released her AfroFuturist masterpiece, Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds. In his review Hrayr Attarian wrote, “The single suite is a musical dramatization of the futuristic allegory that Mitchell wrote for the album. It is a short story set in the year 2099 and is about the symbolic struggle between the decaying and violent old order and the peace and vibrancy of an egalitarian society.”

In 2018, Mitchell followed up with an eight-part suite, Maroon Cloud, recorded live with a drum-less quartet.

Dance of Many Hands. Nicole Mitchell Septet
(Nicole Mitchell-fl, Kojiro Umezaki-shakuhachi, Alex Wing-g/oud/theremin, Renée Baker-vln, Tomeka Reid-cel/ban, Tatsu Aoki-b/shamisen/taiko, Jovia Armstrong-per). From Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds.  FPE Records. 2017.
no one can stop us. Nicole Mitchell Quartet
(Nicole Mitchell-fl, Aruan Ortiz-p, Tomeka Reid-cel, Fay Victor-voc). From Maroon Cloud. FPE Records. 2018.

Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin Series
Since 2011, composer and alto sax player, Matana Roberts, has been sharing the odyssey of her family and, more broadly, African American families, through her series of extraordinary recordings under the heading Coin Coin. To date, she has released four chapters, each different in focus, personnel, and instrumentation. Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile features a trumpet – alto – piano – bass – drums quintet plus an opera singer, telling the story of the composer’s grandmother in the period from the Great Depression into the Civil Rights Era.

Woman Red Racked / Thanks Be To You / Humility Draws Down New / Benediction. Matana Roberts Sextet
(Jason Palmer-tp/voc, Matana Roberts-as/voc, Shoko Nagai-p, Thomson Kneeland-b/voc, Tomas Fujiwara-d/voc, Jeremiah Abiah-voc), From Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile. Constellation. 2013.

Many of the players whose work defined AACM fifty years ago are still performing and will be featured on subsequent programs in this series. The compelling recent releases from Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Mike Reed and Matana Roberts represent a wave of new voices that promise a bright continuation of the tradition.

Attarian, Hrayr. (2015, November 9). Mike Reed’s People, Places And Things: A New Kind Of Dance. All About Jazz. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/a-new-kind-of-dance-mike-reed-482-music-review-by-hrayr-attarian.php

Collins, Troy. (2017, August 22). Mike Reed: Flesh & Bone. AllAboutJazz. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/flesh-and-bone-mike-reed-482-music-review-by-troy-collins.php

Attarian, Hrayr. (2015, November 6). Nicole Mitchell/Tomeka Reid/Mike Reed: Artifacts. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/artifacts-nicole-mitchell-482-music-review-by-hrayr-attarian.php

Patterson, Ian. (2020, April 19). Tomeka Reid Quartet: Old New. AllAboutJazz. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/old-new-tomeka-reid-quartet-cuneiform-records

Attarian, Hrayr. (2017, August 6). Nicole Mitchell: Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds. AllAboutJazz. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/mandorla-awakening-ii-emerging-worlds-nicole-mitchell-fpe-records-review-by-hrayr-attarian.php

Bazzurro, Alberto, (2019, March 12). Nicole Mitchell: Maroon Cloud. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/maroon-cloud-nicole-mitchell-fpe-records-review-by-alberto-bazzurro.php


For other programs in Jazz at 100 Today! visit: Jazz at 100 Today!

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