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Myra Melford, Hammer Museum, Westwood, Calif.

Pianist-composer Myra Melford has long managed to defy easy descriptors, working both inside and out and pushing her music into terrain with musical vocabulary both unique and, in its way, traditional. So it’s no surprise that her new electro-acoustic band Be Bread follows a similar course, creating an enticing fusion of free elements, tonalities and meters borrowed from other cultures, and post-jazz musings. She also offers up new and workable ideas concerning the tricky blend of electric and acoustic instruments—guitarist Brandon Ross and bassist Stomu Takeishi on the electric side, meshing with Melford at the grand piano (and occasionally harmonium), Cuong Vu on trumpet and Elliott Humberto Kavee on drums.

This empathetic band recorded Be Bread’s album The Image of Your Body, released last fall on Cryptogramophone, and played its first live shows on the West Coast, including a stop at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. If the large gallery’s sound mix was questionable, depending on where you were sitting, the museum setting seemed apt, given that Melford’s music fits squarely in the realm of art: She approaches her music with the touch of a restless innovator, but who one hasn’t left behind melodic logic or lyrical charm on the path to the new.

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