Songs of the Diaspora
Songs of the Diaspora is an album of compositions inspired by the musical languages of Africans in the New World. Each tune is a musical portait of the African disaspora as filtered through the ears and sensibilities of Mr. Mitchell and tuba player William Roper. 'Chorale' is a tribute to the freedom riders of the civil rights movement who braved injury and death to further the promise of America. 'Funky Ward 9' embraces the music of New Orleans and a new diaspora which was initiated by hurricane Katrina. As Sun Ra said 'space is the place' I want to be, so forth Mitchell comes with 'Somewhere in the Universe'. 'Ethiopia Saluting the Colors' fuses the poetry of Walt Whitman with percussion and tuba to render the insight of an ancient mystic observing the Civil War up close. Creative music in Los Angeles was represented for many years by pianist and composer Horace Tapscott. Mitchell's tribute to Mr. Tapscott is 'I Remember Horace' for solo vibraphone. Joseph D. Mitchell's performance experience includes the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Aretha Franklin,Vinny Golia, James Newton, William Roper, and concerts with the percussion and tuba duo Judicanti Responsura. Mr. Mitchell studied with the late Karen Ervin at Cal State Northridge and Mitchell Peters at UCLA. Songs of the Diaspora, Mr. Mitchell's first release as a leader, is a blend of styles reflecting the influences shaping Joseph's musical development thus far.