The compositional elements remain a key part of Ms. Mitchell's way but this time they are primarily springboards to extended band improvisations. Along the way Nicole shows big bright tone, great agility, strong creative control over tone color and an imaginative choice of lines that put her straight-up on top. Jeff Parker on guitar never sounded better. If he sometimes brings to mind Ted Dunbar on this date, it is only in the sense of the restless searching, probing quality of his lines. Harrison Bankhead, as anyone who has listened knows, is one big powerful mother of a bassist and he puts it all out there for us to hear. Drummer Avreeayl Ra is a name less familiar to me. But he gets in the pocket of whatever they are doing: swing, rock-funk, freetime, and STAYS there.
This isn't tame music. It is not music that holds back. It is not music that treads lightly for fear of bending a branch or snapping a twig. It goes where it will with no fear, with great spirit, heartful soul, and a wildly exciting ride to get us all there. This is one f=terrific group and Nicole is life affirming and breathtaking at the same time. Dig this one deeply and you'll get to another place.