Nicole Mitchell

Primary Instrument: Flute

Born: February 17, 1967    

Nicole Mitchell

”One of Chicago's more inspiring jazz visionaries, “ (Chicago Tribune), Nicole Mitchell is a creative instrumentalist, composer, bandleader and an educator. With her ensembles, and as a featured flutist, she has been a highlight at art venues and festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. A recent recipient of the 2011 Alpert Award and a former president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Nicole Mitchell explores new sounds and creative techniques as a flutist and as a composer. She has performed with creative luminaries including George Lewis, Miya Masaoka, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Myra Melford, Orbert Davis, Lori Freedman and Muhal Richard Abrams. One of very few African American women jazz instrumentalists, Mitchell also works on ongoing projects with Hamid Drake, David Boykin, Ed Wilkerson, Dee Alexander, Rob Mazurek, Harrison Bankhead and Arveeayl Ra. Mitchell was honored to be charted #1 in Downbeat magazine Critic’s Poll for Flutist 2010, Flutist of the Year 2010 by Jazz Journalists Association and was named “Chicagoan of the Year 2006” by the Chicago Tribune. Black Earth Ensemble (BEE), and Black Earth Strings (BES), founded by Mitchell, are forums for her compositions and creative vision. Nicole Mitchell is also a recipient of the Illinois Arts Council fellowship for music composition (2005, 2002). Mitchell has been commissioned by the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Chamber Music America, Ravinia, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Mitchell also does a variety of residencies, workshops and panel discussions in Europe, Canada and the U.S. with a focus on creative music....
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Alpert Award in the Arts 2011 Downbeat #1 Jazz Flutist 2010 Downbeat #1 Rising Star Jazz Flutist 2005-2009 Jazz Flutist of the Year 2010 (Jazz Journalist Association) Chicagoan of the Year 2006 (Chicago Tribune)
The most important jazz flutist of her generation, Nicole Mitchell reveals another facet of her diverse musical persona on Xenogenesis Suite. Conveying a menacing apocalyptic atmosphere without abandoning melody, harmony and structure, Mitchell proves herself an innovative composer, magnanimous band leader and compelling soloist. A surprisingly effective combination of disturbing surrealism delivered with raw emotion and lyrical experimentation, Xenogenesis Suite is an endlessly rewarding listen.
Troy Collins,

There's both a buzz and an independence about flautist Nicole Mitchell. Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute To Octavia Butler is her second disc for a label other than her own and it marks the arrival of a singular talent for whom the future holds much promise.
Nic Jones,

One of the highest compliments I can pay to this recording is that I always listen to it from beginning to end, and that I don’t really distinguish between separate tracks. It really is a suite in the sense of a continuous flow of feeling and atmosphere that pervades the album. It’s cinematically evocative, and as such extremely effective in creating a musical version of the science fiction fantasy inspired by the work of Octavia Butler.
Dan Melnick, Soundslope

Mitchell’s achievement lies in her coherent assemblage of diverse elements of musical information to draw novelty from familiarity. But then again Mitchell has shown herself to be more than capable of rising above stylistic clichés while staying rooted in the deepest traditions of black music.
Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise

...this is a remarkable achievement by a still-evolving talent whose recording debut, Vision Quest, was only seven years ago. That’s long enough for a full evolutionary transformation, and with this set Mitchell seems ready to embark on something even more radically exciting and impressively achieved...she’s already beyond category and working at some distance from the tired debate about composition vs. improvisation. If that isn’t important, I don’t know what is.
Brian Morton,

Mitchell has composed a suite that is as harrowing as it is beautiful...the music serves as a true introduction and counterpart to Butler's groundbreaking work.
Brad Walseth,

Flutist Nicole Mitchell has become one of our city’s most respected musical artists...her creativity is always boundless. With Xenogenesis Suite, Nicole Mitchell has created a strikingly original work that will surely be considered a major artistic statement for years to come.
Jay Collins, JazzGram

Xenogenesis Suite will be an equally gratifying listening experience for Nicole Mitchell’s fans and those who are new to her provides a fine opportunity to enjoy the composer and arranger, and to discover yet another side of Mitchell’s many talents.
Alain Drouot, jazzColours

From the opening upward flourish of the first movement, the recording is imbued with a sense of purpose that underlies every phrase of the beautiful scoring. The composition certainly invokes Mitchell’s associations with the AACM, the multimovement work clearly rooted in the multicultural conventions birthed by improvisational practices of the 1960s; however, Mitchell’s harmonies owe a large debt to contemporary classical music, and her effective blending of stylistic traits becomes more apparent upon repeated listening. Her playing is second to none, scaling heights of register and virtuosity and making the suite’s conclusion the powerful statement it is. This is a finely detailed rendering of a wonderful piece of music, and the playing is first rate.
Marc Medwin, Bagatellen

Mitchell’s music expresses the disoriented wonder of Butler’s imaginary world by subjecting familiar tonal patterns to oblique treatments: a Black Saint And The Sinner Lady for our times.
Philip Clark, Jazz Review

With its churning rhythms, high-intensity blowing and sharp ear for colors, Mitchell’s Xenogenesis Suite is quintessentially AACM music with a twist. She takes care of the ancient roots — much of this music has a haunted, ritual quality that feels very African in its inspiration — while pointing the way to the musical future midwifed by the AACM for the past 40 years.
John Chacona, Signal to Noise of the few post-9/11 concept albums that succeed in balancing a heavy concept with solid music.
Mike Shanley, JazzTimes

Xenogenesis Suite is a very strong and convincing proposition from flutist Nicole Mitchell. Moving, intricate and immediate, this album marks a paradigm shift in her work as a composer, toward a much more personal voice. Xenogenesis Suite is the kind of album that gains depth with each listen.
Francois Couture, All Music Guide

  • Engraved In The Wind

    Rogue Art
  • Engraved In The Wind

    Delmark Records
  • Nicole Mitchell: Arc Of O

    Rogue Art
  • Arc Of O For Improvisers, Chamber Orchestra & Electronics

    Delmark Records
  • Awakening

    Delmark Records
  • Emerald Hills

    Rogue Art
  • Anaya

    Rogue Art
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This information is provided by or the profile administrator.

Primary Instrument:

Chicago, IL

Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.

Masters in Jazz and Classical Flute Performance Has worked with students from kindergarten to college with our without a music background. Has led college jazz ensembles and taught jazz history. Has lectured on topics of creative music, jazz, the AACM, women in music,. Has been a resident guest composer/director for high school, college and professional ensembles.

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Engraved In The Wind
Rogue Art (2014)

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