One night last summer in Lower Manhattan, the Chicago-based flutist Nicole Mitchell premiered a long-form composition inspired by the work of Octavia Butler, the pioneering science-fiction author. Created and conceived for Mitchell’s nine-piece Black Earth Ensemble, it was one of several new works presented during the 12th annual Vision Festival. And it pursued an ambitious agenda, exploring metaphysical concepts through the multifarious procedures of a still-evolving jazz avant-garde.
Mitchell’s work is now available as a studio recording, Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler (Firehouse 12), and if you scan the inside cover, you’ll find the usual notes and acknowledgments. You’ll also see a line about the origins of the piece: “It was created with support from Chamber Music America’s New Works: Creation and Presentation Program through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.”