The members of the all-star Artifacts Trio – flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid and drummer Mike Reed – have long been recognized as torchbearers of Chicago’s innovative jazz scene, as well as the most prominent performer-educators in the third generation of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM), the historically vital, leading-edge Chicago arts organization. The trio served on the organization's executive board from 2009–2011, and their music advances the organization’s motto, “Ancient to the Future,” celebrating African-American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new, progressive ideas into the legacy of jazz and composition.
The first Artifacts Trio release, 2015’s Artifacts, showcased classic compositions by such AACM composers as Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Hopkins, Leroy Jenkins, Amina Claudie Meyers, Steve McCall, Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams. The album placed in lists of top albums for 2015 on NPR as well as in The New York Times and All About Jazz, among others. New York Times critic Ben Ratliff declared Artifacts to be “exceptional,” while The Free Jazz Collective dubbed the band “a next-generation AACM dream team.” Now, the second Artifacts Trio album – …and then there’s this, to be released digitally and on CD via Astral Spirits Records on October 29, 2021 – furthers the evolution of the band by featuring compositions by each member of the trio, plus interpretations of more pieces by Mitchell and Abrams.