Roscoe Mitchell: Dots 

One-man band Mitchell uses reeds, percussion and 'little instruments' to whip up a storm of largely formless minimalism


The subtitle for this release is Works For Percussion and Woodwinds, although aural evidence and the sleeve notes referring to Mitchell using his “straight horns” suggests he is using a little more than woodwinds on this occasion.

The first few tracks have him doubling up on an assortment of percussion items (many gifted or home-made) with almost unidentifiable reed instruments, upon which he presents a series of brief or briefish utterances. Needless to say, as this is the always adventurous RM we are dealing with, there is nothing to hang your hat on when it comes to regular time or melodic/thematic content.

From two thirds in, the saxophonist concentrates on his array of drums, bells, cymbals and who can guess what to convey his message, bringing to mind his early days in the Art Ensemble Of Chicago when “little instruments” became part of the groups’ presentation – the type of thing that minimalists and percussionists would appreciate more readily than the average listener.

The music was recorded in a home studio under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and is just the latest in a long line of very personal projects Roscoe Mitchell has delivered in the last few years. In addition, we get three of his own pieces of artwork on the packaging which could be vaguely viewed as a part update on pointillism.

Slow Ride One; Slow Ride Two; Glide And Run; Skip; Hey; Oops; Light Green; Vast Horizons; Shimmer; Clang; Startle; Dots; Let’s Go There; Do The Dang Thing; Boom Ba; Click; Now The Color Blue; Moving Bell; Silence (64.42)
Mitchell (reeds, pc). Wisconsin, April 2021.
Wide Hive WH-0359