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Nicole Mitchell, an Innovative Flutist With an Afrofuturist Vision

Nicole Mitchell, 50, the artist-in-residence at this week’s Winter Jazzfest in New York, brings an eclectic ear and a frothy vigor to her instrument. The flute is rarely given much of a chance in jazz — maybe it seems too quiet, too liquid, too fey — but she has transcended all that, becoming a leading voice of the music’s cutting edge.
Yet Ms. Mitchell has the demeanor of an author more than a protagonist. Her projects typically begin with a conceptual narrative and end as a group endeavor, with many voices spilling into a collective expression. What can sometimes be forgotten is that Ms. Mitchell is probably the most inventive flutist in the past 30 years of jazz. So too can the fact that all her music — from its fetching melodies and shadowy harmonies to the synergistic resolve of her bands — flows from her careful engineering.
That was the case with Bamako*Chicago Sound System, a group that Ms. Mitchell coleads with the Malian kora player Ballake Sisoko, but that
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Alumni Composer Jeffrey Mumford had recent works performed at over a half dozen venues in 2017

Composer Jeffrey Mumford (BA, 1977) had recent works performed at over a half dozen venues in 2017: the  violin piece “eight musings . . . revisiting memories” (2005), was performed at Eastman School of music, Lawrence University and Chicago; “eight aspects of appreciation II” (2005) for violin and cello, at Ohio's Lorain County Community College, “billowing pockets brightly layered (2000, rev. 2007) was performed by New York’s Ensemble 212; “ . . . becoming clear (2017)” for solo viola was premiered at the Print Center in Philadelphia; Mivos Quartet performed “the promise of the far horizon (2002, rev. 2013)” at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; and the Ossia Ensemble performed “a garden of flourishing paths (2008, rev. 2017) at the  Eastman School of Music. The works “eight aspects,” “billowing pockets” and "two rhapsodies for cello and strings" will be performed in Houston, St. Louis and Cleveland Heights, Ohio respectively in 2018. 


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Ry Bradley Nominated for California Country Artists in the Best Album category

Alumni Ry Bradley is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter rising to prominence in the country music scene. Bradley is based in California but travels frequently  to Nashville to perform and co-write songs with Nashville songwriters.  Ry performs constantly in venues ranging from bars to festivals, has a number of recordings, and has won a number of awards.  His latest album has been nominated by the California Country Artists in the Best Album category.


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Alumni Kelly Moran’s album “Bloodroot” was named one of the top 25 classical albums of the year by the New York Times

‘BLOODROOT’ Kelly Moran, keyboards (Telegraph Harp). When writing for “prepared” piano, some composer-performers focus on timbral effects to the exclusion of all else. Throughout this rewarding set of miniatures, Ms. Moran avoids this pitfall. The avant-garde touches she employs may be inspired by John Cage, but her melodies are memorable, and original. 


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Nicole Mitchell was awarded top jazz album of the year by the New York Times

Nicole Mitchell was awarded top jazz album of the year by the New York Times for Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, “Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds” on FPE records.


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Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble was Awarded an International Grant

Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble was awarded an international grant by USArtists International, a program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, to perform at the Edison festival in Sweden. For more information on the final grant recipients.


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For Women in Jazz, a Year of Reckoning and Recognition

This year women in the music industry, especially jazz, has managed to break through the barriers of sexism and stereotypes.

Espereza Spalding is a bassist and vocalist that has recorded an entire album titled "Exposure", a portrayal of self expression and form of breaking social norms. For 77 hours straight she has produced this piece beautifully crafting and gradually transitioning to a public spectacle. This project was meant to be a challenge to herself, as she was the only woman in the room in a male dominated space. This piece became the representation of women in the workplace, including the women in the jazz industry. Although difficult and tedious the making of the album was, "Exposure" became the reflection of progression for all women.

The awareness of it not being equitable for men and women in jazz has really come to a bit of a head,” said Terri Lyne Carrington, 52, an esteemed drummer who has long spoken out about sexism in the music industry
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Nicole Mitchell Held a Residency at UCLA in November

Flutist, composer and improvisor Nicole Mitchell held a residency at UCLA November 8–9, giving a lecture, workshop and performance with pianist Billy Childs, vocalist Dwight Trible and bassist Mark Dresser (more information attached). Her tribute to the late composer-improvisor Muhal Richard Abrams appeared in the November issue of The Wire


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