STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Roscoe Mitchell Sampler


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When multi-instrumentalist and composer Roscoe Mitchell performs with keyboardist Craig Taborn next Friday, December 5 at The Stage at KDHX, the concert sponsored by New Music Circle will be his first St. Louis appearance since the 1990s.

After first gaining wide attention in the 1960s as a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musician, Mitchell has gone on to combine improvised music with more formal methods of composition, putting him on a path that led to his current spot as Distinguished Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, CA.

And so although there was a good dose of material related to both men in part five of StLJN's fall jazz preview, given that long gap between appearances here and Mitchell's musical and historical importance, his return seems worth anticipating just a bit more.

Reflecting his diverse output, today we've got a selection of clips spotlighting various aspects of Mitchell's musical persona, starting with a solo performance recorded in February 2013 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

That's followed after the jump by a couple of excerpts from a duo concert featuring Mitchell and Chicago drummer Mike Reed, recorded in 2013 in Poland.

The next video features Mitchell, percussionist William Winant and woodwind player James Fei performing at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, playing “Angel City," a long-form piece that Mitchell wrote originally in 2001 on commission for the Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.

Then, there's a conversation between Mitchell and pianist Sarah Cahill that preceded the performance that night. While Cahill's questions didn't strike me as being particularly on point, Mitchell still has some interesting things to say. And if you find this conversation interesting, you may want to consider attending one of the two presentations Mitchell will be giving while he's here in St. Louis.

After that, we hear from Craig Taborn, who talks about his time working with Mitchell, noting that once he began collaborating with him back in 1997, “everything I played afterwards, I couldn't look at it in the same way."

We wrap thing up a vintage performance featuring Mitchell with the Art Ensemble, recorded in 1974 in Sardegna, Italy. This features the classic AEC lineup, with St. Louis' own Lester Bowie on trumpet, Joseph Jarman and Mitchell on various reed instruments, Malachi Favors on bass, and Don Moye on drums.

For more about Roscoe Mitchell, see this 1998 interview with Perfect Sound Forever; this much more recent “fireside chat" with Red Bull Music Academy Radio, which also includes excerpts from some of his most notable recordings; and this one with Bomb magazine.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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