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Myra Melford's Be Bread

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American pianist Myra Melford would be boxed as avant-garde, with all the expectations, misunderstandings and prejudice that trail behind. But while there is no doubt that her music, matured now over some three decades, has the marked dynamism, the capacity for dramatic narrative change, that perhaps best defines the aforesaid school, it is many other things besides.

A very expressive band serves the leader well in this respect, with trumpeter Cuong Vu and clarinettist Ben Goldberg handling the majority of the twisting, spiralling themes while drummer Matt Wilson drives without overpowering. But it is perhaps the presence of the two string players in the ensemble that is the most intriguing: Brandon Ross, well known to Cassandra Wilson fans, plays a soprano guitar and Stomu Takeishi, a regular in the ensemble of Henry Threadgill, the man who used Ross, Wilson and Melford at early stages of their development, plays an acoustic bass guitar.

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