Myra Melford/The Tent: When The Two Worlds Touch (2004)
Melford tantalizes with her exploration of form and sound. A song can harbour shade and beam, deliberation and freedom, combining diverse facets for a fascinating whole. Her tip of the soul to Andrew Hill begins with an engaging, elaborate ensemble with Chris Speed opening up on the tenor saxophone and Cuong Vu adding blistering fragments on the trumpet, the whole soon a swirling mass. The heady ambit dips into the calm of Melford’s harmonic vent on the piano, her notes dancing, flexing, pliant and thoughtful, before she stretches the frame with a welter of notes that strike resplendently.
The cacophony that is Calcutta, busy and bustling with the largest population of any city in India, opens “No News at All.” Melford captures the tumult in the energetic permutations but what makes this one stand out is her playing on the harmonium as she filters the richness of the instrument. Making it all the more vital is her use of structured Hindustani music in a seamless coalescence with free improvisation. Clocking in just short of twelve minutes, “Where the Ocean Misquotes the Sky” is gorgeous. The muse is Indian, funk, straight ahead and free movement, with the intertwining of Melford’s harmonium and Speed’s clarinet a conversation that speaks directly to the heart.
When two worlds touch, the fallout is absorbing.
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Track Listing: Eight; Where the Two Worlds Touch (for Andrew Hill); Brainfire and Buglight; Where the Ocean Misquotes the Sky; Secrets to Tell You; Everything Today; Hello Dreamers (for Lester Bowie); No News at All
Personnel: Myra Melford
Record Label: Arabesque Jazz
Style: Modern Jazz