394

Myra Melford/The Tent: Where the Two Worlds Touch

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
At its best music should transcend any technical evaluation; it should just be. All too often people (read: critics) assess the skill involved in creating a specific work, forgetting about whether or not it succeeds on purely a gut level. Pianist Myra Melford's latest project, The Tent, manages to rise above such pedestrian considerations, instead demanding that it be considered wholly on the basis of spiritual and emotional reaction. The question of what happens at the nexus point Where the Two Worlds Touch is answered at the most metaphysical of levels.

But what are the two worlds to which Melford refers? One possibility is the spiritual and the secular; another might be the intellectual and the physical; last might be the western world and points elsewhere. And what happens where these two worlds touch? Sometimes a confluence of ideas and other times sheer confusion. Melford's music contains elements of all these things.

From the abstract beauty of "Eight" to the urban sprawl of the title track, to the organized chaos of "Brainfire and Buglight," Melford and the ensemble look for the juncture. "Where the Ocean Misquotes the Sky" finds Melford on harmonium, in tandem with Chris Speed on clarinet, creating a lavish texture that leads into a rubato exploration of the place where east meets west as the piece develops into a slight funk feel.

Trumpeter Cuong Vu lends some otherworldly timbres through his extended techniques; bassist Stomu Takeishi continues to demonstrate that the electric bass, in the right hands, can be every bit as organic as an acoustic instrument. Kenny Wollesen manages to cover the territory between overt rhythm and sheer anarchy.

The album closes with "No News At All," which most clearly ties together the spiritual and the secular; the urban sprawl of western civilization and the chaotic marketplaces of the Middle East. Clearly there is a place where these two worlds touch; one need only look for it.

At the end of the day Where the Two Worlds Touch is not about any individual player's contributions; the album is, given the small size of the ensemble, remarkably orchestral in scope, with shifting rhythms, textures and musical shapes. As cerebral as it sometimes gets, it is an album to be experienced on the most visceral of levels. It requires abolishing preconceptions of how music should be and where it should go; it demands nothing short of full and complete attention; but the rewards are many for those who dare.


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 (piano, harmonium), Chris Speed (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Stomu Takeishi (electric and acoustic bass guitar), Cuong Vu (trumpet), Kenny Wollesen (drums)

Title: Where the Two Worlds Touch | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Arabesque Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "A Sleepin' Bee" CD/LP/Track Review A Sleepin' Bee
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "N.O. Escape" CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Pletter På Solen" CD/LP/Track Review Pletter På Solen
by Nick Davies
Published: June 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.