- Phil Freeman
The third episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with pianist Myra Melford. Melford has been a prominent figure on the jazz avant-garde since the late 1980s, having worked with numerous figures affiliated with the AACM, including Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Nicole Mitchell, and Leroy Jenkins. She’s also led several of her own groups, including Trio M with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson; the Myra Melford Trio with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Reggie Nicholson, which later became the Myra Melford Expanded Ensemble with the addition of trumpeter Dave Douglas and saxophonist Marty Ehrlich; Be Bread, which explored a blend of jazz and traditional Indian music, which Melford has studied extensively; and Snowy Egret, which includes guitarist Liberty Ellman, cornet player Ron Miles, bassist Stomu Takeishi, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, and with whom she just recorded a new album, due out in 2018. She’s got many other projects going as well, many of which are explored in this interview.
Melford also discusses her early studies and her path to becoming a professional musician; her exploration of Indian music; her role as a professor at UC Berkeley; her participation in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra‘s “Handful of Keys” salute to jazz piano history; and much more. It’s a fascinating, nearly hour-long conversation I hope you’ll enjoy.