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Myra Melford


Myra Melford stands out among Avant Garde Jazz pianists for her ability to write engaging melodies and maintain a clear feeling of form and structure even during moments of great intensity. Her playing can be dense and aggressive, full of dissonant clusters and rapidly cascading flurries, but she knows when to bring things back in, and has a pronounced lyrical side as well. She's been involved with several projects, including two of her own trios with bass and drums, along with a quintet (the oddly named The Same River, Twice) featuring trumpeter Dave Douglas, saxophonist Chris Speed and cellist Erik Friedlander -- all standouts among the New York avant jazz scene. This group is especially interesting for the way Melford sets up the interplay among the musicians, employing various instrumental subgroupings and interspersing composed sections with freely improvised parts. Nothing she does would qualify as elevator music, but for skeptics of the Avant Garde scene, she makes a better-than-average entry point.
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