The pianist and singer Amina Claudine Myers, working in a duo with the bassist and violinist Henry Grimes, began her set on the outer margins of tonality and slowly moved toward the center. There was spiky abstraction in the first half of the set, along with some poetry by Mr. Grimes, delivered with authoritative clarity by Ms. Myers.
The saxophonist and composer Roscoe Mitchell. Paula Lobo for The New York Times
Eventually Ms. Myers corralled Mr. Grimes into a sure-footed walking blues. Then she applied her commanding voice to a pair of standards: Billie Holiday’s abjectly carnal ballad “Fine and Mellow” and the Isaiah Jones Jr. spiritual “God Has Smiled on Me.” Both tunes were rousingly performed, with no evident fretting over the juxtaposition.
Roscoe Mitchell, a saxophonist and composer of rigorous disposition, closed the program with some of its strongest music. He appeared in three ensembles: two separate trios that then merged to form a larger unit. The first trio, with Hugh Ragin on trumpet and Tyshawn Sorey on trombone, suggested a controlled bloom of growly intrigue, moving slowly and with enigmatic purpose.
Photo: Amina Claudine Myers at Vision Festival 20: July 7, 2015| Joyce Jones. All Rights Reserved.
The next show will air on Sunday, February 21, 2015 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast will feature an interview with pianist, organist, vocalist...
Amina Claudine Myers by George Lewis
Amina Claudine Myers is one of the major first-wave members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, an experimental music collective that included Leo Smith, Muhal Richard Abrams, Fred Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Thurman Barker, Henry Threadgill, and the future members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. This group of young working-class artists of the 1960s barged into standard music histories by creating a hybrid of improvisation and composition that redefined the premises of experimental music-making. A virtuoso pianist and organist whose work is presented internationally and appears on scores of recordings, Myers draws upon her backgrounds in classical music and the music of the black church of her native rural South to create a recombinant sensibility within improvisation-imbued extended compositions. Her work is insistently post-genre at a moment when reinscriptive collage pretends to postmodern transgression.