Myra Melford is one of the most interesting and underrated pianists in jazz today. Her work is both ambitious and accessible, full of bright, intense rhythms and complex harmonies. Yet she has remained at jazz’s margins. After participating in the downtown New York jazz subculture of the ’80s and ’90s and spending a year in India thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship in 2000, she relocated to Berkeley, Calif., teaching at the University of California and performing in the Bay Area.
Her work is on par with more celebrated players’, such as trumpeter Dave Douglas, pianist Jason Moran and saxophonist Joe Lovano, but she doesn’t do the things that enhance a jazz pianist’s profile. She hasn’t recorded a collection of classic repertoire, nor has she covered contemporary pop and rock...
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