[20 October 2006]
Myra Melford is a name we should all know. Before taking on this review, I was woefully ignorant of the avant garde jazz pianist/composer, despite the dozen albums she’s released prior to the excellent The Image of Your Body, which is co-credited to her quartet Be Bread. Along with Melford’s magnificent piano playing and fascinating Indian-inspired harmonium performances, the ensemble’s melodic duties are shared by either guitarist/banjoist Brandon Ross, or Cuong Vu on trumpet and electronics. Stomu Takeishi lends his acoustic and electric bass skills, while Elliot Humberto Kavee is a varied and sympathetic drummer. Although the entire disc is at least moderately challenging compositionally, it kicks off with “Equal Grace”, a harmonium-led track that is among the least accessible on the record. But it’s also a great work. Take it as a sign marked “buyer beware”, a gauntlet thrown, or, if you like a little hard-hitting adventure in your jazz, an invitation to an album that is artful and intelligent. And, oh yes, it definitely swings.