O, when will this Myra Melford gal be acknowledged as one of jazz's here-and-now treasures, as a pianist, composer, and bandleader? Yes, it's an unfair world in which we live - but we can make it better. Simply: Legally obtain Myra Melford and her Be Bread combo's album The Image of Your Body -- play often, play loud, play it for your friends, play it for people you're lukewarm about. Yes, she is that good.
Originally from the Chicago area, Myra M comes out of the NYC "out" jazz and "downtown" scenes. As a pianist, she sounds like herself - but she learned her lessons from the late percussive, fiercely lyrical key-cracker/Mingus band-mate Don Pullen, but on Body I can also hear the inspiration of another percussive pounder of the 88s, namely Dave Brubeck, especially in the humanity of their compositions. Melford spent time in India studying - like Brubeck and Ellington before her, she absorbed not so much the sounds but rather the essences of the assorted native sounds -- Body evokes Aaron Copeland and Alan Hovhaness as it does the Indian subcontinent and the tango (both Argentine and European strains). Her band is more than up to the task MM has laid before them - Brandon Ross' guitar has the textured ethereal sound of Bill Frisell with some of the sting of pre-1974 Eric Clapton; Cuong Vu (from Pat Metheny's band) plays heartfelt and rippling trumpet; the lithe bass of Stomu Takeishi is so tasteful and supportive you (almost) forget he's there; Elliot Humberto Kavee is such a masterful drummer-as-musician he recalls Jack DeJohnette at his most sublime. Melford's music is such a group music - as opposed to some you-solo-then-I-solo jazz groups - they "feel" almost like an orchestra rather than a quintet. Attention, you multikuti types, lovers of ECM and AACM, fans of Santana at their most jazz-like, the majestic depth of arranger/composers George Russell and Gil Evans, lovers of Hendrix at his most questing, jazz-heads desiring more than head-solos-head bill of fare, fans of post-Cage classical - all you assorted hepcats, embrace this Image of Your Body.