Nicole Mitchell - Black Unstoppable
  • 01 Cause and Effect
  • 02 Black Unstoppable
  • 03 February
  • 04 Love Has No Boundaries
  • 05 Sun Cycles
  • 06 The Creator Has Other Plans For Me
  • 07 Life Wants You To Love
  • 08 Navigator
  • 09 Thanking The Universe
  • 01 Cause and Effect
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (07:04) [16.19 MB]
  • 02 Black Unstoppable
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (07:24) [16.95 MB]
  • 03 February
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (05:42) [13.05 MB]
  • 04 Love Has No Boundaries
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (08:52) [20.29 MB]
  • 05 Sun Cycles
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (07:58) [18.23 MB]
  • 06 The Creator Has Other Plans For Me
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (12:47) [29.26 MB]
  • 07 Life Wants You To Love
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (09:07) [20.88 MB]
  • 08 Navigator
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (04:05) [9.36 MB]
  • 09 Thanking The Universe
    Genre: Jazz
    MP3 (07:37) [17.44 MB]
Click Here for more Delmark Releases!

Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble – Black Unstoppable
Delmark DE 575 (2008)
Compact Disc – Also Available on DVD!

Nicole Mitchell brings an exciting new approach to flute improvisation. Co-president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), she is the founder of the critically acclaimed Black Earth Ensemble. Mitchell, Downbeat magazine’s “#1 Rising Star Flutist 2006 and 2007,” has performed with Anthony Braxton, James Newton & Muhal Richard Abrams. Awarded “Chicagoan of the Year 2006” by the Chicago Tribune, Mitchell does residencies, workshops & panel discussions in Europe, Canada & the U.S.

Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble Black Unstoppable Delmark DE 575

Nicole Mitchell is one of America's leading jazz flautists. In August 2007 Downbeat selected her #1 in the Rising Star Flutist category-her third time winning the category. “As lovers of creative music, and/or jazz music, we need to support its growth and development and need to accept change as necessary for its vitality. When we over-traditionalize some historical approaches to the music, we risk losing the relevancy to our times. I wish for us to celebrate music that is truth for this moment that we live. A very unstable, interesting, horrifying and beautiful moment indeed.” Complete notes by Kalamu ya Salaam enclosed.

1. Cause And Effect 7:01
2. Black Unstoppable 7:21
3. February 5:39
4. Love Has No Boundaries 8:48
5. Sun Cycles 7:54
6. The Creator Has Other Plans For Me 12:43
7. Life Wants You To Love 9:04
8. Navigator 4:02
9. Thanking The Universe 8:37

Nicole Mitchell, flute, alto flute, piccolo
David Boykin, tenor saxophone, percussion
David Young, trumpet, flugelhorn
Jeff Parker, guitar
Justin Dillard, piano (4,5,8)
Tomeka Reid, cello, shakere
Josh Abrams, bass
Marcus Evans, drums
Ugochi, vocals (2,4,7)

All compositions, arrangements and lyrics by Nicole M. Mitchell, Wheatgoddess Creations, ASCAP.

Also available: Black Unstoppable DVD, Live at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark DVD 1575)

Send for free catalog of jazz & blues:
Delmark Records, 4121 N. Rockwell,
Chicago, IL 60618
CP 2007 Delmark Records

Album Production and Supervision: Robert G. Koester and Steve Wagner
Produced by Nicole Mitchell and Steve Wagner
Recorded at Riverside Studio, Chicago on May 28 and 30, 2007 by Steve Wagner
Mixed at Riverside Studio by Steve Wagner, Eric Butkus and Dave Katzman
Photos by Michael Jackson
Design: Dave Forte, ForDzign
Special thanks to Fred Anderson and the staff at the Velvet Lounge.
Visit Nicole Mitchell on her website at

Other Delmark albums of interest:
Ari Brown, Live at the Green Mill (DVD 1577, CD DE 577)
Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble, The Messenger (DVD 1570, CD DE 570)
Fred Anderson, Timeless (DVD 1568, CD DE 568) with Harrison Bankhead, Hamid
Deep Blue Organ Trio, Goin' To Town – Live at the Green Mill (DVD 1569,
CD DE 569 with Chris Foreman, Bobby Broom, Greg Rockingham
Malachi Thompson & Africa Brass, Blue Jazz (548) with Gary Bartz, Billy Harper
Zane Massey, Brass Knuckles (464)
Roy Campbell, New Kingdom (456) with Zane Massey
Coleman Hawkins, Rainbow Mist (459) with Dizzy Gillespie, Ben Webster
Jimmy Forrest, All The Gin Is Gone (404) with Grant Green
Ira Sullivan, Blue Stroll, (402) with Johnny Griffin

Send for free catalog of jazz & blues:
Delmark Records, 1 800 684 3480, 4121 N. Rockwell,
Chicago, IL 60618
CP 2007 Delmark Records

Flautist / Composer / Musical Activist
Music is the healing force of the universe.
-Albert Ayler

I think music is nurturing and people need it. The type of music they listen to kind of holds their reality together.
-Nicole Mitchell


Not the first instrument one thinks of in terms of jazz, or for that matter in terms of classical music and certainly not in terms of popular music. But, other than the drum, the flute is perhaps the most ancient of modern instruments.

Every human culture throughout history has used flutes. Whether made of bone, like the Native American cultures; or reeds and bamboo like traditional African and Asian cultures; or, more recently, made of metal like is common in Christian-era Occidental cultures, peoples of the world have used flutes to make music. So why is the flute so seldom heard in America? Perhaps because it is quiet.

“I chose flute before I chose jazz. The sound drew me in and I identified with it spiritually. It never occurred to me that it was unusual or unpopular as an instrument though I realize that is why I was not exposed to playing jazz earlier (because others around me didn't consider flute to be a “jazz” instrument). It was music that I loved first, just music and later I grew to find my identity as a creative musician.”

Nicole Mitchell is one of America's leading flautists particularly in the jazz arena. In August 2007 Downbeat Magazine selected her #1 in the Rising Star Flutist category-her third time winning the category.

Ms. Mitchell's story starts in Syracuse, New York where she was born on [MONTH, DAY YEAR] and resided until the age of eight. Her family moved to California, where she started formal study in classical flute and began her college career at the University of California-San Diego as a math major. During her sophomore year she took a jazz class taught by Jimmy Cheatham. “He took a little piece of paper and wrote the words 'Eric Dolphy' on it and sent me to the library.”

Musician James Newton visited her class. As a child Nicole had listened to classical flautists Jean-Pierre Rampal and James Galway but when she heard Newton “that was a life transforming experience. He played the flute like I never knew was possible.”

Nicole was inspired to embark on her own aural quest to make music for the world. She embraced creative music, both improvising and composing. She busked on the streets of San Diego.

“I had the idea of creating a melody for each person that walked by, reflecting on how people seemed to me. I was trying to find a way to communicate with people through the improvisation. It wasn't necessarily that I was trying to play jazz. I was just trying to connect.”

She also began taking private lessons from James Newton, paying for the classes with the coins she collected playing for the public.

Eventually Nicole's development as a flautist and composer led her to Oberlin's music conservatory in Ohio, then to Chicago in 1990 (with a fellowship to study “House music”), and on a pilgrimage to New Orleans, and eventually back to Chicago in 1993, where she now makes her home.

Reflecting on her self-determined career choices and her decision to focus on jazz, Ms. Mitchell notes that “Individuality and originality are philosophies at the root of jazz that I embrace, along with the concept of swing and syncopation. I embrace these essentials of the tradition, and I honor historical periods of the music through my compositions. There is so much to learn from in all the different historical periods of jazz but I am also very interested in music of the world. I have a Master's degree in classical flute performance, and I enjoy music from Cuba, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, the list goes on.”

Nicole Mitchell is a respected and frequently employed music educator. With Black Earth Ensemble and as a flutist she has performed consistently throughout Europe and Canada since 2003 (including Paris, Rome, Verona, Moscow, Poznan, Vancouver, Guelph, Toronto, Montreal). She also does residencies throughout the United States and is currently the Co-President of Chicago's famed AACM (Association of the Advancement of Creative Musicians).

She is the recent recipient of Chamber Music America's New Works Creation and Presentation Award, which supported the premiere of the Xenogenesis Suite: a Tribute to Octavia Butler. Additionally, she was commissioned by the City of Chicago and the Jazz Institute of Chicago to present a new suite of compositions with the 15 piece Black Earth Orchestra in Chicago's Millineum Park the summer 2007. The work was a tribute to Alice Coltrane titled “Many Paths to the Sea: A Tribute to Alice Coltrane.”

Ms. Mitchell leads the Black Earth Ensemble (BEE), which she describes as a “chamber ensemble (with a changing size from 5 to 9 people)” that performs Mitchell's compositions and offers room to feature each of the musicians. Her own solo work is highlighted in Frequency (a quartet with bassist Harrison Bankhead, reedist Edward Wilkerson and drummer Avreeayl Ra) and in Indigo Trio (featuring percussionist Hamid Drake and bassist Harrison Bankhead.

Somehow, Ms. Mitchell has also found time to lead two other ensembles: Black Earth Strings (bass, two violins, cello and flute) and the all female Tindanga Mama (Swahili meaning “She pushes through, she makes her way.”)

The Black Earth Ensemble is Nicole Mitchell's primary musical vehicle. The Black Unstoppable DVD/CD is their fourth recording. The other BEE recordings are Vision Quest, Afrika Rising and Hope, Future and Destiny, all three of which are available from Dreamtime Records, the recording label she established with David Boykin.

“As lovers of creative music, and/or jazz music, we need to support its growth and development and need to accept change as necessary for its vitality. When we over-traditionalize some historical approaches to the music, we risk losing the relevancy to our times. I wish for us to celebrate music that is truth for this moment that we live. A very unstable, interesting, horrifying and beautiful moment indeed.”

-Kalamu ya Salaam, October, 2007

* * *

Indigo Trio, Live in Montreal (Greenleaf, 2007)
Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, 2007)
Frequency, Frequency (Thrill Jockey, 2006)
Nicole Mitchell/Black Earth Ensemble, Hope, Future and Destiny (Dreamtime, 2004)
Nicole Mitchell/Black Earth Ensemble, Afrika Rising (Dreamtime, 2002)
Nicole Mitchell/Black Earth Ensemble, Vision Quest (Dreamtime, 2001)

* * *

“My life is about the music. Music has the power to get people together to do something positive.”

I never dreamed of being a part of what already was
I dreamed of other worlds

I did whatever was necessary to face down the dragons of survival
I never surrendered to despair

I offered a legacy of creative music
I refused to be silenced by the commerce of noise

I am a creative soul who honors the feminine of myself
the blackness of my people and
the life of all humans

I gave children the art of music
unstinting love and creative energy
-what more was there to give?

Whether sitting on the earth
basking in the sunlight
singing with the wind
functioning as the head
of thirty musicians
I offered my all in each performance

This is my note to the future:
I was here
I did my best to make it to there

Human heartbeats were the only metronomes I minded
I studied what I loved
And created whatever beauty I thought was missing

I was a healer and helpmate
An organizer and educator
But most of all a life force
For beauty and betterment

I offer my works as testimony and evidence
That I was worthy of the gift of human existence
And as supplication for my entrance
Into the eternity of the hereafter

I pray that there is forgiveness for the mistakes
I may have made
And acceptance of all the offerings
I placed into the universe

I am the spirit once flesh known as Nicole
Know me as music
Know me as love
Know me as life

I am finished.

  • Members:
    Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble
  • Sounds Like:
    free jazz
  • Influences:
    Free jazz
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
  • Profile Last Updated:
    08/14/23 20:49:23

"Radio Creds" are votes awarded to artists by radio programmers who have downloaded their music and have been impressed with the artist's professionalism and the audience's response to the new music. Creds help artists advance through the AirPlay Direct community.

Only radio accounts may add a Radio Cred. One week after the track has been downloaded the radio account member will receive an email requesting a Cred for each artist they've downloaded.