Nicole Mitchell’s New Educational Challenges

Although The Pittsburgh Current’s Mike Shanley appears slightly overawed interviewing flutist Nicole Mitchell about her new position as The University of Pittsburgh (UP)’s Chair in Jazz Studies, he does manage to present some of her history and concept of Jazz education. Joking that at one time, no school would want an adventurous artist like her near the jazz department, Mitchell outlines her commitment to the Jazz tradition and helping students find their own voices. The piece also traces her career that includes her membership and later presidency of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Slyly she also notes that while she never played In Pittsburgh, a few years ago, while teaching in California, she was part of a telematic performance that also featured AACM trombonist George Lewis in New York, and pianist Geri Allen, who then headed UP’s Jazz Studies program. Allen succeeded saxophonist Nathan Davis, who created the program in 1969.