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Nicole Mitchell’s Ice Crystals: Aquarius

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“Ice crystals” is a good visual metaphor for the sound Nicole Mitchell’s flute and Jason Adasiewicz’s vibes make together. The latter, especially, evokes ice (or glass, thus “crystal”) with a crisp, nimble attack that’s mindful of his instrument’s hard surface. Aquarius is the more gorgeous and exciting for it, though that same combination can become tedious.

There is nothing else monotonous about this music, though. The compositions are quite dynamic; the most memorable, the slinky “Yearning,” has three discrete melodies and shifting meters in its theme, plus more in the improvisation section. In sequence, they’re even more protean, so that “Yearning” follows the gentle swing and faintly bossa-nova figures of “Today, Today” and precedes the stark, freeform title track.

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