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Myra Melford and Crush: Dance Beyond the Color

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Whether serving as an integral part of large ensembles conducted by Butch Morris, as a member of the Trio Equal Interest (along with violinist Leroy Jenkins and reedman Joseph Jarman) or leading her own aggregations, pianist-composer Myra Melford’s output continues to personify Lester Young’s definition of artistic excellence: “You got to be original, man.”

Crush, which features bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Kenny Wolleson, is no exception. For in addition to featuring some of Melford’s most sublime, engaging compositions to date, her solos and accompaniment show there is still much to be learned and recast from the whispered, romantic legacies of fellow pianists Herbie Nichols and Bill Evans as well as the raucous, tumbling wellspring of the blues. This isn’t to imply that Melford apes the aforementioned approaches in a palatable manner. Titles such as “Like Rain Whispers Mist” are, however, exquisite examples of intriguing, restful harmonic light and shadow, and of the trio’s characteristically unified interplay.

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