Myra Melford

A 2013 Guggenheim Fellow, Melford was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as an "explosive player, a virtuoso who shocks and soothes, and who can make the piano stand up and do things it doesn't seem to have been designed for.

Throughout her life in music, the pianist and keyboardist Myra Melford has pursued a creative vision that is both wholly distinctive and all-embracing. Composition and improvisation interact seamlessly and ingeniously in her work, one side strengthening the other. Guided by that same compelling spirit, divergent idioms and eras coalesce—from jazz, blues and global folk styles to various corners of the classical tradition and the avant-garde. Extramusical influences—for instance, the poetry of Rumi or the spirituality of Indian meditation, yoga and the Huichol Indians of Mexico—have also figured into the mix. In the end, Melford’s efforts are probably best served by labels like “contemporary music,” “new music” and other tags that signify artistic freedom and daring more than any boundaries of genre.

With a career spanning over three decades, Melford has distinguished herself through her unique ability to blend jazz with elements of blues, Indian classical music, and avant-garde improvisation. Her dynamic and adventurous style is showcased in her numerous recordings and collaborations with leading figures in the jazz world, such as Marty Ehrlich, Dave Douglas, and the collective Trio M.