Former President of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, flautist and composer Nicole Mitchell Gantt emerged from Chicago’s avant-garde scene in the early 90s and has a work ethic that is both tireless and inspiring. It’s not so much the energy she harnesses (although that’s pretty incredible), but the positive accent she brings to her mission to “celebrate the power of infinite possibilities by creating visionary worlds through music”.
These visions saw her Black earth set (including Tomeka Reid and Jeff Parker) exploring the ancient past and painting visions of a positive future. They included a celebration of the Afrofuturist literary work of Octavia Butler, which we have already covered through Travelers and applicantsthe folk and spiritual jazz project of Jay Hammondwhich was inspired by Butler’s dystopian novel “The Parable of the Sower”.
In 2008, the Black Earth Ensemble released their sequel Xenogenesis: A Tribute To Octavia Butler, based on Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy (Dawn, Rites of adulthoodand Imago) that paved the way to cosmic freedom and a brighter future. In addition to exploring the black experience, much of Gantt’s work also has a universal message, something that shines through on Who we area project featuring the words of her late husband, Calvin Bernard Gantt.
Who we are was completed just before Calvin Gantt’s untimely death in July 2021 and released on his birthday, May 30, 2022.
Calvin, like Nicole, was also driven by a tireless work ethic, something he alludes to in the title track, Who we are, in which he challenges “our future plans” and “what should we plan to do?” Their approach to life can perhaps be summed up in a continuous questioning Who am I? and why am I here?
Described as a “blog music” duo collaboration, part of Calvin’s biography is featured in the title track (he had over forty blogs) alongside snippets of wisdom worth noting down and keeping track of. at hand.
It’s inspiring…as the album notes say, the album “hopefully provokes the listener to participate in what they hear. The content of each song applies to what is happening in our world today, and the challenge is to reflect on what you are doing or what you can do to help heal the planet we all share. .
Order it here: https://nicolemitchell.bandcamp.com/album/who-we-are