How do we do justice to someone like Roscoe Mitchell in a few pithy paragraphs? Turning 80 a few weeks before TUSK Virtual kicks off, Roscoe has long been a favourite to TUSK ears for his avalanche of genius music as part of the legendary Art Ensemble Of Chicago and his countless solo and collaborative works. Across half a decade of applying his unique genius to the more radical ends of free jazz and composition, Roscoe Mitchell is a towering influence to the approach of this festival and so many of the artists that we feature and are moved by. His journey into classical experimentation also began in the 90s, working with such luminaries as Pauline Oliveros and his huge oeuvre is littered with countless gems – favourites here include everything Art Ensemble have ever put out, from their riotous late 60s albums while based in Paris and their fabulous collaboration with Fontella Bass to their later incarnations including more recent faves as Moor Mother and the gloriously grating sound of his solo epic, Nonaah.
In so many ways, bringing Roscoe Mitchell to TUSK Virtual feels like going back to the very source of musical radicalism and freedom.