The combined prowess of Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, and Mike Reed is something to marvel. All three are gifted players and innovative, inspirational composers. As Artifacts, the trio comes together in joyous, virtuosic fashion on original compositions plus one each by Roscoe Mitchell and, “Soprano Song,” a choice Muhal Richard Abrams cut.
Abrams was a legendary figure whose influence and inspiration will continue for generations and hearing Artifacts turn this piece from Colors in Thirty-Third into something new is spellbinding. Reed drives the trio with precise grooves, keeping the rhythmic foundation solid in the opening moments, but letting Mitchell and Reid weave spiraling magic. The timbral combination of flute and cello is heady and always surprising, something Mitchell and Reid have worked flawlessly in multiple combinations through the years. Here, imbued with Reed’s funky push, there’s one hell of a good time ready to take off.
On the original piece, saxophonist John Purcell practically steals the show, but Artifacts approach gives all three players a chance in the sun. Mitchell’s flute runs are outstanding, flying at lightspeed at times and always saturated with a mesmerizing spectacle while Reid continually shows off an uncanny ability to put her stamp on any style, any idea, at every turn. It’s impossible not to feel the tactile energy flowing across these three minutes.
While Abrams played with inimitable cellist Abdul Wadud, on occasion, he’s not on Colors in Thirty-Third (the original track has Fred Hopkins playing bass) so we haven’t heard this brilliant piece with this sonic palette. Yet, if there’s ever been a jazz cellist who has taken Wadud’s spirit and mastery and pushed it into new directions, it’s Tomeka Reid and on this recording, Artifacts take “Soprano Song” into another dimension to show off its sonic possibilities. I’m all in on this trip.
Artifacts new album, …and then there’s this is out October 29 via Astral Spirits.
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