Monday, January 21, 2008

Review of "Spark!"

Here is a concise review of Ehrlich and Melford's highly acclaimed new CD.


Marty Ehrlich and Myra Melford

Palmetto Records

Release date: September 4th 2007

Availability: CD, iTunes

Playing as a duo since 2000, Marty Ehrlich (bass clarinet) and Myra Melford (piano) have been proving for some years what a number of jazz musicians are just beginning to appreciate; given the right understanding and approach, less can be more. The paired down effect of just their two instruments playing off each other leaves room for the listener's imagination to fill in all the spaces they have so artfully placed into context.

Strong on blues underpinnings and full of flowing melody lines, these nine tracks step out into free form excursions (as in Robin Holcomb's "Up Do") without imperiling the overall project of delivering an approachable and thoughtful series of meditations on the shifting faces of beauty.

There is a programmatic intention in Myra Melford's "A Generation Comes And A Generation Goes" and "I See An Horizon," which were inspired by the poetry of alJawahiri, a poet who wrote on war in Iraq in the 1940s. They are offered as odes to peace throughout the world. "For Leroy" is a tribute to free jazz violinist Leroy Jenkins, with whom they had both collaborated. "Blue Delhi" recaptures Myra Melford's experiences in India. However, it is not necessary to know about the programmatic intentions to appreciate the spirituality that inhabits not just these pieces but the whole album.

Overall, a very powerful use of "less is more" to produce a music that sounds out resonant and clear.

1 comment:

David said...

I think one has to admit that "Spark!" has a very cool album cover.