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Myra Melford’s SPLASH TRIO with Neil Charles & Ches Smith (2nd Show)

Doors 9:30 PM, Music 10:00 PM – 1 set(s) of music



Myra Melford – Piano

Neil Charles (deputising for Michael Formanek) – Bass

Ches Smith – Drums



Splash is an adventurous new trio led by visionary pianist/composer Myra Melford, featuring bassist Michael Formanek and drummer/vibraphonist Ches Smith. The project is the latest installment of Melford’s ongoing body of work inspired by and engaging with the work of the American post-abstract expressionist painter Cy Twombly. The bold, sudden action implicit in the trio’s name reflects the energy and motion captured on Twombly’s canvases, a physicality that drives Melford’s exploratory music.

Throughout her career, Melford’s compositions have imbibed elements from other media – not only visual art but literature, poetry, and architecture. The connections are never literal or obvious, but the echoes and resonances are rich ad profound. Her multi-hued dialogue with Twombly has evolved over nearly three decades, since she discovered the artist through his 1994 retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Previous installments of the project include two albums with her all-star quintet Fire and Water (with Mary Halvorson, Ingrid Laubrock, Tomeka Reid and Lesley Mok) and a set of music for the collective trio MZM, which she co-leads with Miya Masaoka and Zeena Parkins.

Melford doesn’t attempt to directly translate the Twombly’s work in sonic form; instead she approaches her own musical language via techniques and processes similar to those employed by the artist: using action words – “Splash” among them – to propel both compositions and improvisations, and discovering means to capture the impression of spontaneity in concrete forms. His paintings thus suggest an immediate moment or burst of activity while in reality being carefully composed, an elusive quality vibrantly embodied by the trio.

Formanek and Smith are both renowned improvisers, composers, and bandleaders, whose collaborators include Tim Berne, Marc Ribot, Mary Halvorson, Kris Davis, John Zorn and many others. Melford’s compositions for this stellar trio serve as both structure and instigation, compelling a fluid and captivating balance of design and invention.

“It’s nearly 20 years since I first encountered the artwork of American post-Abstract Expressionist, Cy Twombly, at his 1994 Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Reporting on the exhibit, The New York Times stated that Twombly used to train himself by drawing in the dark where the act, feeling, physical gesture of making a line was initially more important to him than what it looked like. On reading this, I immediately felt an affinity with him. As an improvising pianist, I respond to energy and physical impulse, the feeling of making a gesture, as much as the resulting sound. And when I saw his work for the first time, I wanted to respond through music. (…) The compositions and improvisations you’ll hear are not meant to translate Twombly’s work into sound but are rather part of my own personal dialogue with the energy, signs, verbal utterances, erasures, poetry, feeling, and sense of freedom and play that radiates from his canvases, at times spacious and meditative, at other times dense, raucous, fiery, raw, and everything in between.“
Myra Melford

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