Wednesday, November 20, 2013

EQUAL INTEREST: Joseph JARMAN, Leroy JENKINS, Myra MELFORD – Equal Interest (1999)

Label: OmniTone – 12001
Format: CD, Album; Country: US - Released: 1999
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live on 2-3 August 1999 at Sear Sound, New York.
Engineer – Tom Schick; Engineer [Assistant] – Todd Parker
Executive Producer – Frank Tafuri
Liner Notes – Frank Tafuri
Mastered By – Bob Ward
Producer – Equal Interest, Frank Tafuri

Midwest sensibilities and New York attitude converge in an energizing collective, fusing jazz, blues, classical and folk musics. Comprised of two veterans of Chicago's venerable AACM (saxophonist Joseph Jarman and violinist Leroy Jenkins) and "downtown" NY pianist Myra Melford, Equal Interest explodes with sensual, exotic, even mystical sounds, bridging the past, present and future. Pushing and groovin' new jazz for the new millennium.

At the vanguard of the past and present creative improvised jazz movement, these three brilliant musicians come together in continually surprising ways. The depth of their collective spirituality is most impressive, but the music virtually bursts with passion and vibrancy. There is also an equally shared compositional stance. Jenkins (on violin and viola) contributes "B'Pale Night," with swirling melodic improvs surrounding Jarman's alto sax and blue string counterpoint, Melford's piano circling around it all, plus some cartoonish unison lines. "In the Moment" emphasizes harder-edged, darker spontaneity, rich in counterpoint, demonstrating intense listening and responding. Jarman gives the trio another two pieces: "Rondo for Jenny" has Melford on harmonium as a South Indian-based flute-violin unison and Vietnamese oboe solo bring about an air of stark mysticism, while the 13-minute-plus "Poem Song" is one of the more beautiful pieces of music you will ever hear -- fanfare viola introducing serene, meditational flute and delicately constructed, flowing piano. Of Melford's three pieces, "Over This/Living Music" splits time between her 5/4 piano, which sets the pace for skittering violin and flute, and gently plucked strings which back Jarman's solo, with more pensive call and response at the end. "The Beauty We Love" has swelling harmonium under layered strings and alto, while "Everything Today" sports a 6/8 start-up, more free alto, repeated piano lines, and Jenkins' scattershot strings joining clever, spirited, uplifting writing. The finale is a traditional Armenian piece, "Apricots for Eden"; Jarman's tambourine-sounding Turkish hand drum and Melford's harmonium travel at a patient pace, then are inspired to dancing motifs. Following up the prelude to this recording, Out of the Mist (Ocean), this trio has exploded into a most impressive improvising unit that will hopefully continue to bring us miracles like this highly recommended CD.


Links in Comments!


  1. EQUAL INTEREST: Joseph JARMAN, Leroy JENKINS, Myra MELFORD – Equal Interest (1999)



    Buy this album, so you'll help musicians.

  2. This looks interesting Vitko. Jarman is always great and I admire Myra as well.

  3. Here you can read interviews with the members of Equal Interest:
    (unfortunately, Leroy Jenkins is died 2007)

  4. first listening...a triumph...thank you...

  5. Hello. Thank you for your efforts to present great modern Jazz on this blog. I was wondering if you could please upload this album once again? I was not aware of your blog back in 2013, or I would have gotten the file back then. Thank you very much! Keep up the great work you are doing.
    Jason Longwell
    Geneva, New York, USA

    1. I'll try to do it as soon as possible.

  6. Thank you very much. I'm looking forward to hearing this album when you have an opportunity to upload it again. Many thanks!