An ambitious composer/pianist with a taste for adventure, Myra Melford emerged in the late '80s and early '90s as one of the more highly acclaimed young jazz pianists of the day. Melford's early work reflected her primary musical mentors/influences: on piano, Don Pullen, whose percussive mannerisms she successively adapted; and, as a composer, Henry Threadgill, whose formal techniques she obviously studied. Melford professes an affinity to the blues styles she heard and studied as a youth in Chicago (she grew up in nearby Evanston, IL), which she incorporates into her avant-garde-tinged musical sensibility. As a youth she studied boogie-woogie piano with Erwin Helfer. Melford attended college at Evergreen State in Washington State, where she studied with the pianist Art Lande and developed an interest in jazz. She went on to also attend the Cornish Institute in Seattle. In 1984 she moved to New York, where she would play in the bands of Threadgill, Leroy Jenkins, and Butch Morris, among others. She also studied privately with Pullen. In the mid- to late '80s she performed and recorded in a duo with the flutist Marion Brandis. She formed a trio with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Reggie Nicholson, with which she recorded a pair of albums -- Jump (1990) and Now & Now (1991) -- for the rock-oriented Enemy label, which helped establish her reputation. As the '90s progressed, Melford added horns to her sound; the trumpeter Dave Douglas is a member of her Same River, Twice band, which has recorded albums for the Gramavision and Arabesque labels. She has continued to perform with bands led by Jenkins and Threadgill; she is also a member of one of Douglas' many ensembles. In 2000, Melford received a Fulbright Scholarship to study North Indian music on the harmonium with Sohanlal Sharma in Calcutta. ~ Chris KelseyPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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