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Nicole Mitchell/Harrison Bankhead/Hamid Drake: Indigo Trio: Live in Montreal

Flutist Nicole Mitchell, bassist Harrison Bankhead and percussionist Hamid Drake are longtime collaborators. But until June 13, 2005, when they appeared at the Suoni per il Popolo Festival in Montreal, these three Chicagoans had never performed publicly as a trio.

You’d never know it. The first three pieces-“Welcoming,” “Thankfulness,” and “Afrika Rising”-flow together as a suite, and the ideas among the participants meld just as smoothly. After an extended bowed solo from Bankhead, Mitchell floats in, summoning strong echoes both Middle Eastern and Celtic. Drake’s contributions are propulsive, textured and tuneful-few percussionists so consistently approach even a standard trap set as a melodic and a rhythmic instrument. Among the most thrilling moments, though, are those passages where time is suspended and Mitchell or Bankhead stretches an extended phrase over a valley of silence or, sometimes, a pointillistic outpouring from Drake that ripples like windswept water.

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