Best of 2017 #04: Nicole Mitchell – “Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds” (FPE Records)


Nicole Mitchell was already recognized as existing in a state of creativity somewhat outside common territory.  Her recorded and performance history have been primary movers of how music is shaped in this new century.  And yet even comprehending that isn’t sufficient preparation for Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds.  Her Afrofuturist project is a dream, a story, a recording, a political statement and societal aspiration.  Avant-garde, soul jazz, blues, modern jazz, classical, spoken word, gospel, rock are just some of the residents of this sonic city, whose story unfolds over the course of ten pieces.  It’s sometimes chaotic, sometimes hopeful, sometimes at peace, and so much more of it triggering ineffable emotional reactions lying somewhere in between.  Mitchell stepped up with a massive vision, and delivered it in a way that is as compelling as it is enjoyable.  This easily could’ve been the album of the year.

Music from Chicago.

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