The seventh episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with cellist Tomeka Reid. She’s been on the avant-garde/free jazz scene since 2002, but has really begun to make her mark in the last few years. She’s got long-standing artistic relationships with flautist Nicole Mitchell, drummer Mike Reed, saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton, and the AACM. She leads her own quartet with guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Tomas Fujiwara; is a member of the string trio Hear In Now with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi; and recorded a duo album, Signaling, with saxophonist Nick Mazzarella in 2017. She also performed on trumpeter Jaimie Branch‘s Fly Or Die, two Nicole Mitchell albums, and Hear In Now‘s Not Living In Fear, and became a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In our interview, Reid discusses her creative relationships, her recent recordings, and much more. It’s a really interesting conversation I’ve been wanting to have for quite a while—she was one of the first artists I approached about appearing on the podcast—and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
The third episode of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with pianist Myra Melford. Melford has been a prominent figure on the jazz avant-garde since the late 1980s, having worked with numerous figures affiliated with the AACM, including Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Nicole Mitchell, and Leroy Jenkins. She’s also led several of her own groups, including Trio M with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson; the Myra Melford Trio with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Reggie Nicholson, which later became the Myra Melford Expanded Ensemble with the addition of trumpeter Dave Douglas and saxophonist Marty Ehrlich; Be Bread, which explored a blend of jazz and traditional Indian music, which Melford has studied extensively; and Snowy Egret, which includes guitarist Liberty Ellman, cornet player Ron Miles, bassist Stomu Takeishi, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, and with whom she just recorded a new album, due out in 2018. She’s got many other projects going as well, many of which are explored in this interview.
Melford also discusses her early studies and her path to becoming a professional musician; her exploration of Indian music; her role as a professor at UC Berkeley; her participation in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra‘s “Handful of Keys” salute to jazz piano history; and much more. It’s a fascinating, nearly hour-long conversation I hope you’ll enjoy.
Stream or download the podcast below.
by Phil Freeman
Burning Ambulance is launching a new podcast series, which will feature interviews with artists from the realms of jazz, modern composition, metal, noise, and whatever else interests us—much like the site has done since launching in 2010.
The inaugural edition features an interview with legendary saxophonist and composer Roscoe Mitchell. Mitchell co-founded both the AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and has been one of jazz’s most forward-looking and inspiring figures since the 1960s. His latest album, Discussions (get it from Amazon), features large-ensemble interpretations of music originally improvised by a trio featuring Mitchell himself, Craig Taborn on keyboards, and Kikanju Baku on percussion. About a week after this interview was recorded, Mitchell led a new incarnation of the Art Ensemble of Chicago in their first New York performance since 2004. The group featured Hugh Ragin on trumpet, Tomeka Reid on cello, Jaribu Shahid and Junius Paul on basses, and Famoudou Don Moye on drums, and former AEOC member Joseph Jarman made a special appearance, reading his poetry accompanied by the others.
The interview runs about 45 minutes; Mitchell talks about the Art Ensemble, his composition “Nonaah,” his other solo works, and much more. Stream it or download it below.