Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
She walks (and writes) in beauty.
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 09/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I made the claim in a previous review (of Momentary Lapse by Andrew Drury-highly recommended) that Myra Melford, to play like she does, must walk in beauty.
I may, if anything, have understated the case. Melford has studied/played with Don Pullen, Leroy Jenkins, Joseph Jarman, Butch Morris, Henry Threadgill. She has studied classical composition and is a wicked, lyrical improvisor that is equally adept at percussive attacks on the piano and beautiful lush romanticism. And as well as she improvises she may be an even better composer. She has created a series of compositions on this CDs that at times remind me of Mingus, at times of Don Cherry, and that are ideally suited for her bandmates.
La Mezquita Suite is a case in point. It clocks in at just over twenty-five minutes. There are duets, a waltz, blues, open improv, and flamenco themes. She wrote this piece in response to her explorations of Flamenco and as a result of an early morning visit to La Mezquita mosque in Cordoba, Spain. The result is a piece that is both voluptous and meditative. That ain't easy. Don't even think about trying that at home.
The band she has assembled is perfect for the music. Extended Ensemble refers to the fact that she added some guests to her long-time trio of herself on the piano, Lindsey Horner on bass, and Reggie Nicholson on drums. The guests are Marty Ehrlich on alto and clarinets and Dave Douglas on trumpet. Solid band leader that she is, she had those two tour with her trio before they recorded this music in early May, 1994. I am not a big fan of Douglas' more recent efforts. But I love his playing here- much more lively and passionate than I usually hear him as being.
(Keep in mind that when I say something like that about a musician as obviously as skilled as is Douglas that I am probably talking more about my own limitations as a listener than I am about that artist's expressiveness. On what bedrock are such judgements made?) About Marty Ehrlich, I have no such qualms. His alto, as always, aims straight at my heart chakra.
As do Melford's compositions. I think that the wild card in most contemporary jazz (neglecting completely free jazz) is in the quality of the compositions. Melford writes as well for this group as any contemporary jazz composer I know. The result is one of the better CDs from the ninties.
This CD can still be found and is worth the effort. Write me if you have trouble finding a copy."
Ali Haluk | Istanbul, Turkey | 03/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"she's the "sophisticated lady" and you'll not be the same person after listening this beauty...
avant-garde structure, cries and whispers in "even the sounds shine", eastern/klezmer winds in "la mezquita suite", give and takes in "that the peace", chaos and minimalism in "frank lloyd wright goes west to rest" and joy of playing a simple melody in "evening might still"...
dave douglas'leading performance in all 5 cuts and marty ehrlich's bass clarinet solo in the last cut are really great. but above all, a gifted composition skill: myra melford...
don't miss; those sounds will shine in your mind...