All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

6

Myra Melford Trio: Alive In The House Of Saints Part 1

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Back in 1993, pianist Myra Melford announced herself on the international stage with Alive In The House Of Saints and it still constitutes exhilarating listening. It was the third and, as it happened, last album by her trio completed by bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Reggie Nicholson, following a brace of recordings on the Enemy imprint (although she did supplement the line up with trumpeter Dave Douglas and reedman Marty Ehrlich for Even The Sounds Shine (Hatology, 1995). Originally issued as a single CD, further live material was added for release as a double disc set in 2001, but Hatology is now making the date available again in two parts.

While the trio recognizably inhabits the tradition, Melford extends and subverts the genre through her adventurous compositions in a foretaste of what was to come with her bands such as Same River Twice, Be Bread and Snowy Egret. She also distinguishes herself through a notable rhythmic impulse, blues-tinged extemporizations and the capacity to take matters outside. Horner provides a solid foundation, holding down vamps in a way that they don't overstay their welcome, and proposing a pulse-based lyricism when in the spotlight. Nicholson not only propels but also plays the tunes, recalling Ed Blackwell as he extrapolates upon them during his features.

Each track defeats expectations. The dashing "Evening Might Still" offers a lively starter, hewing closest to what might be anticipated from the instrumentation. But as the piece opens out Melford creates tension with a repeated barely changing figure, only to resolve it with rolling aching outbursts that bring a nod of recognition. Nicholson introduces the scuttling theme of "Now & Now 1" with a gentle tattoo, before the pianist ends a flowing solo by fragmenting her lines into jabbing chords and flailing runs over a freer impetus.

The drummer enjoys a distinctive break on the first stalking, then exultant "Between Now & Then," animating a press roll from near inaudibility to a lurching gait which presages jazzy stretches, tango-like inflections and more offgrid mayhem. But it's the closing "Parts I & II Frank Lloyd Wright Goes West To Rest" which pushes the envelope most. It begins with a spasmodic stagger before unfolding into bustling ensemble interplay, modulated by bursts of concentrated furor.

Melford shines on a passage of cleanly articulated hyper speed stabbing which evokes her mentor Don Pullen at his most boisterous. Further developments lead into a more understated second section which investigates timbre and tone color, and confirms just how well-integrated this unit was across the whole spectrum.

Track Listing: Evening Might Still; Now & Now 1; Between Now & Then; Parts I & II Frank Lloyd Wright Goes West To Rest.

Personnel: Myra Melford: piano; Lindsey Horner: bass; Reggie Nicholson: drums.

Title: Alive In The House Of Saints Part 1 | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
M Z M

M Z M

Infrequent Seams
2018

buy
Dialogue

Dialogue

Bag Production Records
2016

buy
Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Enja Records
2015

buy
Life Carries Me This Way

Life Carries Me This...

Firehouse 12 Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Shades CD/LP/Track Review
Shades
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World CD/LP/Track Review
Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Pattern Recognition CD/LP/Track Review
Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Just This CD/LP/Track Review
Just This
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Live at Sowieso CD/LP/Track Review
Live at Sowieso
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read "Live from Stern Grove Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live from Stern Grove Festival
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "Influences" CD/LP/Track Review Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" CD/LP/Track Review Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Atwood Suites" CD/LP/Track Review Atwood Suites
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 6, 2018
Read "Arise!" CD/LP/Track Review Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Live from San Pedro" CD/LP/Track Review Live from San Pedro
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 3, 2018