A pianist, composer, educator and bandleader who has built and documented a succession of celebrated ensembles, Myra Melford has set her most ambitious projects on the all-star quintet known as Snowy Egret. Featuring some of jazz’s most distinctive and melodically inventive improvisers, the group premiered her enthralling 2013 multimedia production inspired by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano alternative history of the Americas Language of Dreams at YBCA, and followed up with an eponymous debut album on Enja named by many jazz critics as one of 2015’s best releases.
Snowy Egret’s second album, recorded last year at Firehouse 12 studio in New Haven, comes out in conjunction with this concert and introduces the band’s volatile new music, with its protean mix of dense, percussive textures, rollicking blues, and serenely transparent voicings. Featuring her long-time comrade Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, guitarist Liberty Ellman, cornetist Ron Miles, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, who was award a coveted MacArthur “Genius” Grant last year, Melford’s Snowy Egret melds artists who are acclaimed bandleaders and composer themselves into a singularly expressive ensemble. A Guggenheim Fellow, Doris Duke Performing Artist, and Alpert Award in the Arts recipient, Melford is also a professor of music at UC Berkeley.