Di 20. März 2018

Myra Melford 'Snowy Egret' (USA)

© Bryan Murray

Myra Melford: piano
Ron Miles: cornet
Liberty Ellman: guitar
Stomu Takeishi: bass
Gerald Cleaver: drums

‚Snowy Egret‘, ein Silberreiher als Namenspate für ein Quintett, das lässt Bilder aufsteigen, Bilder, die mit (fast) jedem Takt der neuen CD der Pianistin Myra Melford an Klarheit und Schärfe gewinnen. Es ist eine zarte, feingliedrige Musik, die die Pianistin in den zehn Kompositionen für ‚Snowy Egret‘ angelegt hat, schlank und kein bisschen auftrumpfend, doch dabei sehr beweglich und dynamisch. Und über allem liegt eine leichte Decke von kontemplativer Naturnähe. Während Ron Miles seinem Kornett eher die lyrischen Seiten abringt und seinen Klang im Unisono an demjenigen des Gitarristen Liberty Ellman reibt oder auch an der Klarheit der Linienführung Melfords, halten Stomu Takeishi am E-Bass und Tyshawn Soreys Schlagzeugspiel im Untergrund den Herzschlag der Musik in steter Bewegung. In Europa gehört Melford zu den übergangenen Großen des aktuellen Jazz. Mit ‚Snowy Egret‘ zeigt sie, dass das ein Fehler ist. (Stefan Hentz, Jazz thing 108)

Several years ago the pianist and composer Myra Melford formed the Snowy Egret quintet, its title inspired by a dream. The music for the group was a response to something more literary: “Memory of Fire,” the three-volume history of the Americas by Eduardo Galeano.

The music is part of a multimedia piece, “Language of Dreams,” to be performed not only by the ensemble but also by a Butoh dancer, a video artist and a vocalist. Her extremely fine new album, “Snowy Egret,” is pared down to the strictly musical aspects of the piece, but leaves no sense of incompletion.

Ms. Melford has a winning track record with chamberlike five-piece bands: a pair of former ones, Be Bread and the Same River, Twice, are responsible for some of her finest work during the past 20 years. Snowy Egret includes the cornetist Ron Miles, the guitarist Liberty Ellman, the bass guitarist Stomu Takeishi and the drummer Tyshawn Sorey — serious-minded players with a feel for elasticity of form. (Snowy Egret appears on Saturday as part of Ms. Melford’s residency at the Stone, which will also feature reunited versions of those previous groups, along with some duos and trios.)

The compositions on the album touch on brooding elegy (“Night of Sorrow”), carnivalesque rhythm (“The Strawberry”) and focused abstraction (“The Kitchen”), with an internal bustle that ends up serving Ms. Melford’s larger designs. She sometimes runs the risk of too closely emulating one of her gurus, Henry Threadgill, with whom Mr. Ellman and Mr. Takeishi have worked steadily in recent years. One track, “Little Pockets/Everybody Pays Taxes,” might well be a straightforward homage.

But Ms. Melford’s calmly investigative style at the piano, and the way she coordinates the moving parts in this music, feel girded in singularity. On “Ching Ching/For Love of Fruit,” she plays melodica in a kind of lyrical tango with Mr. Miles, against a sinuous groove. The song rings of familiarity and mystique, rumination and seduction, keeping all possibilities close at hand. (The NY Times, 2015)