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

Nicole Mitchell: West by Midwest

A flutist who embodies the sunny optimism of California and Chicago's bold, creative spirit

Nicole Mitchell near her home in Long Beach, Calif., May 2012
Nicole Mitchell with her Ice Crystal Quartet, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., May 2013
Nicole Mitchell near her home in Long Beach, Calif., May 2012

“Can you take our picture?” Nicole Mitchell asks me.

We are in the Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in May. Mitchell has just played the final night of this year’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival with her Ice Crystal quartet, performing music from their recent CD, Aquarius (Delmark). Now, she and her husband, Calvin Gantt, are suddenly tourists exploring a famous landmark. Just a few paces from the giant bust of John F. Kennedy, and surrounded by the low bustle of well-groomed patrons filing into the Opera House, the flutist and composer-still in the burgundy blazer and leopard-print dress she wore onstage-hands me her smartphone. She then takes Gantt by the arm and they stand against the polished marble wall. Both put on giddy smiles.

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