Originally published in
the NYC Jazz Record NY@Night column, Nov 2018
Oct. 8, 2018, Teatro Latea, Clemente Soto Velez Center, NYC
Performance review by John Pietaro
Tiger Trio, Teatro Latea, November 8, 2018 (photo by John Pietaro)
In this era of #MeToo and feminist fight-back, the obvious statement made by the banding of Myra Melford, piano, Nicole Mitchell, flutes, and Joelle Leandre, bass, may be one of gender alone. In this period of reactionary divisiveness, new music and jazz remain as male-dominated as ever, but these powerful soloists unified in the creation of something greater than the sum of themselves, cast a timeless lesson in equity, strength and art. Veterans all of the most expansive contemporary music, Melford, Leandre and Mitchell took the stage at Teatro Latea (10/8) without plans or outlines of what was to come, guided only by the highest level of performance practice and deepest, most communicative listening.
Refreshingly, there wasn’t any hogging of the spotlight or rushing toward a climax, but the Trio evoked enough energy, expression and force to justify the title and embark on jaw-dropping musical forays. Melford appeared at the top of her game this night. Perhaps hindered by the limitations of an upright piano, her technical prowess nonetheless shaped a spinning tapestry of sound. Mitchell’s flutes alternately draped gorgeous melodies over and cut searing lines into the atmosphere. And Leandre’s tireless pizzicato patterns, arco passages, vocalizations and humor brought it together. The Tiger Trio may be the counter to the ignorance, impatience and greed the nation’s daily fed. “We’re totally tuned in to each other”, Melford noted after the concert. But it was Mitchell’s comment that best describes what propels this vital music: “It’s a different kind of listening”.