Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystal, Aquarius

Nicole Mitchell has rapidly assumed a position of stature as one of the finest jazz flautists active today. Her string of varied albums in the past few years shows an artist who can lead ensembles of strength and originality and put together compositions that stand out, all the time hitting us with great flutework.

For her latest she takes a kind of look back with an ensemble and sound that has a relationship to the classic Eric Dolphy-Bobby Hutcherson Blue Note sides of years ago. The band is Ice Crystal and the album is Aquarius (Delmark 5004).

It's a fabulous gathering of Nicole, the increasingly central vibist Jason Adasiewicz, Joshua Abrams on bass and Frank Rosaly on drums.

Ten Mitchell originals push the band into some great zones, all swinging and smart. Nicole sounds ravishing and the Adasiewicz comping-soloing style sets her off perfectly. Abrams and Rosaly do all they might be expected to do--subtle swinging, hard and inventive. You can listen to Abrams doing some very hips things in there and Rosaly is a cat anybody would welcome on a gig.

This is another very solid, totally enjoyable building stone in the Nicole N. edifice. It will give her a wider audience, I suspect, and at the same time will not disappoint those of us who have been digging from the beginning.

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