Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Roscoe Mitchell & the Note Factory: Song for My Sister

Some jazz-related composers are noteworthy for their original vocabulary; some are lionized for their ability to give a variety of existing styles their personal imprint. Among the first wave of AACM composer-instrumentalists, Roscoe Mitchell has perhaps created the most seamless persona doing both.

Given the wide temperamental range of Mitchell’s work-his chamber works are often adamantly astringent and his jazz tunes frequently have an affable, if ultimately double-edged humor-this is no small feat. For many long-time Mitchell listeners, the apex of this achievement is his first Sound Ensemble LP, Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin’ Shoes (1980, Nessa), against which all subsequent work is measured. Several recordings have come close, the most recent being Nine to Get Ready (1999, ECM), which suggested that Mitchell’s Note Factory, a nonet with twin rhythm sections, would most likely be the ensemble setting the new standard. Song for My Sister comes close-real close.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published