Roscoe Mitchell

Mitchell’s innovations as a solo performer, his role in the resurrection of long neglected woodwind instruments of extreme register, and his reassertion of the composer in what has traditionally been an improvised form, have placed him at the forefront of contemporary music for over thirty years. He is a founding member of the world renown Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Mitchell was born August 3rd, 1940 in Chicago. He started on clarinet and saxophone as a teenager. Later, while serving in the army in Germany, he played in a band with Albert Ayler. Upon his return in the 60s, Mitchell began a number of relationships that would last until this day.

In 1966, his sextet became the first AACM group to record. The resulting album, Sound, is still recognized as an achievement, and it signaled a change in the music. In 1969 Mitchell’s then group, the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble, traveled to France. After under-going a lineup change, the band was reborn as the Art Ensemble of Chicago. For the next two decades they remained one of the most celebrated groups in music. In the time since, Mitchell has developed his solo music, as well as forming and composing for the Trio Space, the Sound Ensemble and the Note Factory as well as various configurations of trio, quartet, and sextet groups.

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The 56th Annual Down Beat Critic’s Poll results are in and we are pleased to say that a number of Pi Recording’s artists have been recognized for their work over the past year.

  • Muhal Richard Abrams received 32 votes towards Hall of Fame consideration.

  • The Vijay Iyer Quartet received 33 votes in the Rising Star Jazz Group category. Additionally, Vijay received 47 votes in the Rising Star Composer category, 28 votes in the Rising Star Jazz Artist category and 60 votes in the Rising Star Piano category. Tyshawn Sorey also received Rising Star Jazz Artist consideration with 23 votes as well as 29 votes in the Rising Star Drums category.

  • Roscoe Mitchell received 38 votes in the Soprano Saxophone category.

  • Rudresh Mahanthappa received 23 votes in the Alto Saxophone category and 85 votes in the Rising Star Alto Saxophone category. Steve Lehman also received Rising Star Alto Saxophone with 48 votes.

  • Henry Threadgill received 39 votes in the Flute category.

  • Corey Wilkes received 35 votes in the Rising Star Trumpet category.

  • Marc Ribot received 26 votes and James “Blood” Ulmer received 25 votes in the Guitar category. Additionally, “Blood” received 50 votes in the Blues Artist/Group category.

Pi Recordings would like to thank all of the critics who recognize the work of our artists year after year.

posted on July 13, 2008 by Seth


The Year End Lists are in and we would like to thank the following critics for their support of our releases this year; Alex Dutilh for including Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell’s Streaming and Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Codebook in his year end list and Stuart Broomer and Philip DiPietro for including Steve Lehman’s On Meaning in their year end lists.

Additionally, we would like to thank those critics whose votes helped Muhal Richard Abrams Vision Towards Essence to be included on the Village Voice 2007 Jazz Poll and those whose votes helped Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers to be recognized among the Best Debut Albums of 2007.

posted on January 2, 2008 by Seth

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