394

Myra Melford/The Tent: Where the Two Worlds Touch

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Myra Melford/The Tent: Where the Two Worlds Touch 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)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Arabesque Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Points of View CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Migration Blues CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read N.O. Escape CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Jassemblage" CD/LP/Track Review Jassemblage
by Chuck Koton
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Chicago II" CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue" CD/LP/Track Review Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
by James Nadal
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Machine Gun: Live At The Fillmore East First Show" CD/LP/Track Review Machine Gun: Live At The Fillmore East First Show
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Henry" CD/LP/Track Review Henry
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!