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Myra Melford & Allison Miller Co-Lead New Band

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    Posted: 04 Jun 2024 at 11:49pm

Myra Melford & Allison Miller Co-Lead New Band, Lux Quartet, With Dayna Stephens & Scott Colley

The eponymous debut album will be out on August 9.

Myra Melford & Allison Miller Co-Lead New Band, Lux Quartet, With Dayna Stephens & Scott Colley

Lux Quartet, co-led by pianist Myra Melford and drummer Allison Miller, is proud to present its eponymous debut: a glowing musical encounter with Dayna Stephens (saxophones) and Scott Colley (bass).

The program features original compositions by all four band members, exploring philosophical and spiritual themes through the language of jazz. The name Lux Quartet was inspired by the role of light in the diversity of life on Earth, from the vitality of the sun’s rays to the bioluminescence of creatures in the deepest oceans—a suggestive reference to the heights and depths the band seeks to explore. The sound resulting from this combination of players is, according to Melford, “like throwing a spark at tinder—everything immediately bursts into flames.”

Melford and Miller have a rich history as collaborators, notably in Miller’s Boom Tic Boom, which has featured Melford’s pianistic brilliance on four albums to date. Their respective 2023 efforts—Melford’s Cy Twombly–inspired Hear the Light Singing and Miller’s ambitious multimedia work Rivers in Our Veins—appeared on many year-end critic’s lists. The two are thrilled to welcome Dayna Stephens, a formidable voice on all the saxophones, who worked with Miller and pianist Carmen Staaf on their co-led 2018 release Science Fair. The mysterious “23 Januarys,” Stephens’ first contribution to the Lux Quartet book, is derived from one of Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition, posing very particular challenges for improvisation and interplay.

Scott Colley, four-time Grammy nominee, first-call sideman and noted leader in his own right, recorded “Tomorrowland” on his 2010 release Empire (featuring Bill Frisell) and returns to it here, transforming it to close out the album in a dark and contemplative rubato space. “Scott has played with everyone and he really knows no boundaries,” Miller says. “His ears are huge, and I feel the same way with Dayna and Myra. That’s a big element of why this band worked so well from the start. We were able to listen and push the music in different directions night to night.”

The leadoff track, Melford’s “Intricate Drift,” was inspired by the late Andrew Hill, with whom Colley used to work extensively. “Dry Print on Cardboard” is a Twombly-related piece that first appeared on Melford’s 2018 Snowy Egret release The Other Side of Air; this version, with Stephens on tenor, evolves through a sequence of improvised duos and solo passages, united by an energetic main unison theme. And “The Wayward Line” offers tremendous interpretive freedom to the group as a whole: Though the piece has no set tempo, Melford explains, “Often we’ll go into some kind of groove. But I never know exactly how Allison’s going to approach it, and I love that.”

The first of Miller’s tunes is “Congratulations and Condolences,” an ode to parenting that Boom Tic Boom recorded on Glitter Wolf. Lux renders it with a more swing-oriented acoustic jazz sensibility while highlighting Stephens on soprano. “Speak Eddie” is Miller’s homage to the late drummer and consummate sideman Eddie Marshall, inspired by a signature five-note lick that Marshall used to play. “Deeply Us” is straightforwardly a love song, freshly contrasting in its spaciousness and lyrical simplicity. The blend of sonic elements—Stephens’ breath through the tenor, Miller’s brushes and then cymbals, Melford’s legato piano musings, Colley’s poetic free verse on the bass—is uncannily seamless and expressive, the sign of a band in full creative accord.

from  www.broadwayworld.com

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