Nicole Mitchell, “A Sound,” from Maroon Cloud
The title of composer and flutist Nicole Mitchell’s latest outing, Maroon Cloud, refers to the realm of creativity that people can enter simply by closing their eyes. “Imagination, especially black imagination, is an undervalued resource,” Mitchell says of this eight-part suite, recorded live in Brooklyn in 2017. “We need to return to where imagination comes from, because if we don’t have another vision, we can’t make another future.”
The track “A Sound” is an imaginative exploration of sound and its inextricable connection to culture, history and our present moment. “Sometimes a sound represents a whole era/Sometimes a sound represents a whole people,” sings vocalist Fay Victor with a soulful cry. As incisive as the lyrics are, the song is grounded by an unshakeable groove from Aruan Ortiz on piano and Tomeka Reid on cello. Mitchell, soloing on flute, reveals both an ear for accessible melody and the confidence to bare her heart through the music.
Feature image: Aruan Ortiz, left, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Fay Victor. (Courtesy the artist)