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Myra Melford: Snowy Egret

Glenn Astarita By

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Based on her multidimensional jazz schematics amid associations with like-minded artists nestled in the modern wave of jazz composers and improvisers, you wouldn't expect pianist, Myra Melford to compose works based on evening strolls in the park or mundane issues, for example. With her top-flight ensemble, Melford frames this plot on Eduardo Galeano's lucid and poetic Memory of Fire trilogy, concerning historical facets of the Western Hemisphere. And as surmised, the pianist consummates a broad perspective with these incandescent tomes, spiced with geometric movements, knotty unison choruses, suspenseful backdrops, and anchored by the rhythm section's polyrhythmic aplomb.

Melford steers a multi-patterned attack via kaleidoscopic storylines and animated phrasings while also generating a Mediterranean tint when using the harmonium on "Ching Ching/For Love Of Fruit." Here, trumpeter Ron Miles contrasts the ensuing developments with bluesy statements as drummer Tyshawn Sorey morphs jazz and Latin grooves, spawning a worldly stance. It's a kinetic journey with free-flight reengineering mechanisms and the band's expansive improv during several works.

The leader inserts a mélange of mood-evoking propositions on "First Protest," highlighted by her nimble intro and playful persuasions, countered by Sorey's fervent responses and the soloists sweltering cadenzas. But Melford's trickling harmonics introduce additional colors and insights atop a complex pulse and some forceful bump and grind episodes. Moreover, the ensemble intersperses balladry and diverging melodic hooks into the program. Once again, Melford aligns a cadre of anticipated intricacies with an engaging soundscape that unveils additional treats on repeated listens.

Track Listing: Language; Night of Sorrow; Promised Land; Ching Ching/For Love of Fruit; The Kitchen; Times of Sleep and Fate; Little Pockets/Everybody Pays Taxes; First Protest; The Virgin of Guadalupe; The Strawberry.

Personnel: Liberty Ellman: guitar; Ron Miles: trumpet; Stomu Takeishi: acoustic bass guitar; Tyshawn Sorey: drums; Myra Melford: piano, harmonium.

Title: Snowy Egret | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Enja Records

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