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Trailblazing Jazz Musician to Give Reading This Month

By Jorge Casuso

October 16, 2023 -- Trailblazing jazz composer and flutist Nicole Mitchell will read from her book at the Santa Monica Public Library followed by a performance at Disney Hall this month.

The reading, co-sponsored by Soundwaves new music series and the Angel City Jazz Festival, will take place on Thursday October 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium in the Main Library.

Mitchell -- "one of the leading jazz musicians of our time" -- has performed on dozen's of albums as a flutist, bandleader, composer and improviser, event organizers said.

The first woman to lead Chicago’s legendary AACM (the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), Mitchell left a lasting mark with recordings made with her Black Earth Ensemble.

The Penguin Jazz Guide noted that the ensemble's music "is not so much a throwback to 40 years ago as a strong reminder of how much has moved forward in cultural politics."

"There is no mistaking the power in Mitchell's writing," according to the most consulted guide in jazz music. "The ensemble is tightly disciplined but still free to explore the dimensions of Mitchell's big ideas on their own individual terms."

A 2007 profile in the Chicago Reader noted that Mitchell's music "is avant-garde but swings ferociously, and though the tunes are complex and tightly arranged, they leave plenty of space for improvisation.

"The first thing you’re likely to notice, though, is how upbeat and ebullient Mitchell’s music is."

Mitchell will read from her 2022 debut book "The Mandorla Letters: For the Hopeful" published by the University of Minnesota Press.

The book "combines memoir, Afrofuturist fiction, and ecofeminist social critique, while also walking the reader through the creation and performance of several of her compositions," event organizers said.

A book sale and signing will follow the talk.

Two days later on October 28, Mitchell will perform at REDCAT in Disney Hall during the Angel City Jazz Festival, which runs from October 13 to 29 at venues across Los Angeles.

Mitchell will present a special program "based on her mother’s artwork and poetry, supported by an all-star band."

Visit for the complete schedule and ticket links.

Since 2016, Soundwaves has presented free concerts at the Santa Monica Public Library, supported by the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library and the Amphion Foundation.

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