Roscoe Mitchell, born in Chicago in 1940, is one of the great innovators in creative music of the post-Coltrane, post-Ayler era. He founded the Art Ensemble of Chicago (originally the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble), whose ECM legacy includes the widely applauded albums “Nice Guys”, “Full Force”, “Urban Bushmen” and “Tribute To Lester”. More recently Mitchell has co-led the Transatlantic Art Ensemble with fellow saxophonist Evan Parker. Roscoe’s album with this conglomeration, “Composition/ Improvisation Nos. 1, 2 & 3”, won an Album-of-the-Year Award from France’s Jazzman magazine – one of many honours bestowed upon Mitchell. He is a composer, and currently holds the position of Distinguished Milhaud Professor of Music at California’s Mills College. He is also a furiously creative saxophone improviser and his Note Factory has become a kind of training ground in which players can immerse themselves in his unique structural concepts.
The current Note Factory includes two very exceptional piano players in Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer. Taborn can currently be heard on Michael Formanek’s hot ECM album “The Rub & Spare Change” (and he’s just recorded a solo piano disc due for 2011 release). Iyer has latterly been the recipient of a number of prizes including artist of the year awards from the Jazz Journalists Association. “Far Side” is his first appearance on ECM.
Energetic young trumpeter Corey Wilkes has recorded for ECM with the Tranatlantic Art Ensemble and filled Lester Bowie’s vacant seat in the Art Ensemble of Chicago. An important player for the future of jazz and funk and forms in between.
Jaribu Shahid and Tani Tabbal have been one of Mitchell’s preferred rhythm teams for 30 years and appeared on a number of his albums. They are partnered here by Harrison Bankhead and Vincent Davis, both making ECM debuts. Bassist/cellist Bankhead and drummer Davis have toured together with the Roscoe Mitchell Trio. Bankhead is perhaps best known for his work with the late Fred Anderson as well as the group 8 Bold Souls. Davis has also played in groups led by Criag Taborn and Billy Brimfield.