September 2007


Trio M – Myra Melford, Mark Dresser, Matt Wilson
at the Guelph Jazz Festival
September 8, 2007 Guelph Youth Music Centre Guelph
Hitting a Quirky Stride
by Tom Sekowski with photos by Roger Humbert
Last time I’d seen pianist Myra Melford (a frequent guest at the Guelph Jazz Festival) was a few years back with violinist Tanya Kalmanovitch. A heart-wrenching concert it was, as both musicians gave it their all in terms of sheer energy and total musical capacity. Fast forward to 2007, when Myra Melford returns not so much as a headliner, but as an equal member in a trio. Trio M consists of Melford on piano, bassist Mark Dresser and percussionist Matt Wilson. I didn’t expect to walk into the Guelph Youth Music Centre that Saturday afternoon and hear Melford rehash her old trio (with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Reggie Nicholson) from the early 90’s.

This music was singular. There was still melody flowing through the pieces, but the edges were sharper. Compositions were devoid of extraneous passages of dubious romanticism. While Melford’s piano hits were direct and to the point, she was able to slow things down for a few minutes, and get deep down ethereal. On one occasion, she was even strumming inside the piano itself, which gave the music a whole other dimension.

Dresser was an absolute killer on the bass. Moving between high-strung finger picking to obliterating and moving pizzicato work, Dresser was equally as good when he picked up the bow and let the energy flow through that channel.

Wilson was a monster as well. Oftentimes, he would pick the band up when it was moving into morose territory or slow them down when the occasion demanded. One fault that I could come up with in terms of Wilson’s style was, the guy was trying to do too damn much in too short span of time. He wanted to do it all and all is not possible in an hour long concert, nor is it possible when you’re talking about a ten minute piece of music. On a positive note, interplay between Wilson and Dresser was phenomenal. The give and take continued on and whenever Melford changed pitch or tempo, the other two would continue to support her.

Myra Melford

Mark Dresser and Matt Wilson

Best parts were when the rhythm section actually escaped from the pianist and continued to do their own thing. The push-pull trajectory had a dozen shining moments throughout the concert. Everyone looked as if they were having an exorbitant amount of fun. The sounds were equal amounts of blues, jazz and the all essential improvised music. This was music that was composed (there can be no doubt) but the lightness to it all ensured freedom seeped into every pore and pause in between.

> www.myramelford.com < > www.mark-dresser.com < > www.mattwilsonjazz.com <
We welcome your comments and feedback
Tom Sekowski
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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