by Willard Manus
once again dipped into the deep, inexhaustible well of Chicago blues &
jazz to quench our thirst for soul music. Both Toronzo Cannon and Nicole
Mitchell have been part of the Chicago music scene for many years, Cannon
as a guitar- playing sideman, Mitchell as an award-winning flutist and
band leader. Now they both have released new albums on which they get
to play their own compositions.
Nicole Mitchell's AWAKENING contains nine tunes written by the flutist and recorded in March of last year. Mitchell, who was recently cited by Downbeat and the Jazz Journalists Association as a rising jazz star, is backed by guitarist Jeff Parker, bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Avreezyl Ra. She leads the way, showing off her lyrical and exquisite gifts as a flautist, weaving delicate, deeply-felt tales on each of the album's improvised tracks.
The beauty of Mitchell's playing is hard to describe in words. Suffice to say that she takes you to another, better world each time out.