Chicago's pianist Myra Melford (1957), who moved to New York in 1984, debuted with the
solo-piano meditations One For Now (august 1986) but established herself
as a poignant composer in the vein of Henry Threadgill with a trio that recorded
Jump (june 1990),
Now and Now (august 1991)
and the live Alive In The House of Saints (february 1993).
Their playing revisited all the elements of jazz improvisation within a
In order to pursue these erudite studies,
she formed The Same River Twice with saxophonist Chris Speed, trumpeter Dave Douglas, cellist Erik Friedlander and drummer Michael Sarin,
The Same River Twice (january 1996) and
Above Blue (april 1998), albums whose music was frequently cryptic
However, they all paled in comparison with the
25-minute combinatorial game of La Mezquita Suite, off
Even the Sounds Shine (march 1994), for a quintet with
trumpeter Dave Douglas and saxophonist Marty Ehrlich.
A blend of lyrical inspiration and musical mastery fueled the ever more sophisticated architectures of
Dance Beyond the Color (may 1999) and
The Tent (april 2003).
Under The Water (september 2007) documents five water-themed improvisations for solo piano by Myra Melford and Satoko Fujii.
The electro-acoustic band
Be Bread was formed in 2002 to
play music based on her harmonium studies in India.
The Image of Your Body
(december 2003) features
trumpeter Cuong Vu, guitarist Brandon Ross,
bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee.
Be Bread also recorded Melford's chamber suite The Whole Tree Gone (december 2008), mostly composed in 2004, with a line-up of
Cuong Vu on trumpet, Ben Goldberg on clarinets,
Brandon Ross on guitars, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and
Matt Wilson on drums.
The Trio M
with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson
The Guest House (june 2011).
Myra Melford's solo piano collection Life Carries Me This Way (january 2013) consists of original compositions inspired by the artwork of the artist Don Reich.
Everything Here Is Possible (november 2012) documents grand piano duets with Alister Spence, especially the 18-minute A Bird Translates.
Myra Melford, Ron Miles (trumpet), Liberty Elman (guitar), Stomu Takeishi (bass) and emergent Tyshawn Sorey (drums) formed Snowy Egret that scored
"Language of Dreams", a multimedia performance
inspired by Eduardo Galeano's epic "Memory of Fire"
that premiered in november 2013 and became the album
Snowy Egret (2014).
Snowy Egret's second album was The Other Side Of Air (october 2017).
Everything Here Is Possible (november 2012) documents a live collaboration with fellow pianist Alister Spence.
Orphic Machine (september 2013) and Dialogue were collaborations with clarinetist Ben Goldberg.
The live Nearness And You (june 2015) documents the acoustic septet of the Jazz Passengers' Roy Nathanson (alto, soprano & baritone saxes, vocals), Arturo O'Farrill, Anthony Coleman and Myra Melford (all on piano), Marc Ribot (acoustic guitar), and Curtis Fowlkes and Lucy Hollier (trombones).
The Tiger Trio, consisting of Melford, Joelle Leandre (double bass) and Nicole Mitchell (flutes and piccolo), debuted with the live Unleashed (march 2016).
MZM (recorded in
march 2014 and january 2016)
featured Zeena Parkins on electric harp & electronics and Miya Masaoka on 21-string koto.
12 From 25 (march 2015) documents live duets and trios with Tyshawn Sorey, Nicole Mitchell, Ben Goldberg, Mary Halvorson, Mia Masaoka, Dave Douglas, Chris Speed, Marty Ehrlich and others, spanning 25 years of her career.
Stormy Whispers (october 2018) documents a live performance
by Joelle Leandre (bass), Myra Melford (piano) and Lauren Newton (voice).
The Myra Melford Quintet, with Mary Halvorson (guitar), Ingrid Laubrock (tenor and soprano saxes) and Tomeka Reid (cello), recorded For The Love Of Fire And Water (july 2021) with percussionist and Hear The Light Singing (november 2022) with percussionist Lesley Mok.