Myra Melford Presents Two Benefit Events for U.C. Berkeley Jazz and Improvised Music Fund


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The Department of Music at The University of California, Berkeley, today announced two special fundraiser events for the Jazz and Improvised Music Fund (JIM). The first event on Friday, April 23 at UC Berkeley's Hertz Hall will feature The Contemporary Improvisation Ensemble (CIE) comprised of UC Berkeley students, alumni and guests directed by Myra Melford followed by a performance by Trio M with Mark Dresser, Myra Melford and Matt Wilson.

The second event on Saturday, April 24, “Cooking it Up-Connections Between Improvisation, Music and Food," is an intimate culinary & musical event with Chef Paul Canales of Oliveto and a performance by Trio M at Maybeck Studio in Berkeley. The core idea for this collaborative event is how improvisation plays a major role in music and in food preparation and presentation. The members of Trio M will, in advance of the performance, present Canales with snippets of their compositions, musical themes and inspirations. Before the performance, Canales will send inputs, cues, design elements and core improvisations from his creative process in the kitchen to Trio M. During the performance, Canales will be designing and presenting generous “tastes" of food. The evening will also include a discussion with the audience about this process and reveal the ideas and materials used to create the food and music and how both Canales and Trio M approach improvising.

Paul Canales is the Executive Chef of Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland, California. Chef Canales came to Oliveto in 1995 as an extern from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He was immediately taken with the restaurant's commitment to the finest seasonal ingredients and authentic, regional Italian cooking that was developing in the restaurant's kitchen. After he completed his externship, he returned the CIA to complete his studies, and graduated at the top of his class. While at the CIA, he received many scholarships and awards including the Escoffier Award for Leadership and Academic Excellence and the Wine Spectator Award for Excellence.

The JIM Fund provides for classes and ensembles in jazz and contemporary improvised music for students from various disciplines. Under the direction of internationally renowned pianist and composer, Myra Melford, along with trumpeter Christy Dana, the JIM Fund allows students to study, perform and collaborate together on a variety of approaches to contemporary improvised music and jazz by creating a small but thriving community of young musicians. Recent budget cuts, however, are threatening this lively community, which already lacks funds to replace worn out instruments and audio equipment. The fundraisers will also help to provide for instruments and an increase in master classes, coaching sessions and private instruction.

Melford says, “Only with the support of the Bay Area community can these students continue to grow musically and spread this wonderful and creative music. This support will also stimulate future generations of Cal students to 'improvise' across disciplines and think on their feet."

Since it's inception in spring 2007, the Contemporary Improvisation Ensemble (CIE), under the direction of pianist and composer Myra Melford, studies and performs many kinds of contemporary music that call for improvisation. The repertoire has included music from the jazz tradition, particularly from the innovators of the 1960s to today including Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Henry Threadgill, and Leroy Jenkins and the music of contemporary composer/improvisers such as Fred Frith, John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Myra Melford, Ben Goldberg, Sarah Wilson, Jenny Scheinman, and others. The CIE places emphasis on the musicians creating their our own arrangements and compositions and approaches to performing the these works.

Trio M features pianist Myra Melford, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson. Trio M brings together these visionary jazz artists with extensive track records in adventurous ensembles. Documented on the acclaimed 2007 Cryptogramophone CD, Big Picture, the ensemble explores member's compositions while maintaining a commitment to spontaneous improvisation. Unbound by piano trio conventions, the leaderless project erases distinctions between frontline and accompanist, requiring each player to shape the music's flow as it unfolds. The resulting sounds can be fierce and beatific, playful and rigorous, earthy or abstract, extravagantly joyous or quietly introspective. Thursday, April 23, 8:00pm, Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus

Performances by Meganeura: Tamar Sella (voice), Peter Hargreaves (tenor sax), Erika Oba (piano), Joe Costantini (bass), Benny Amon (drums)

The Llamas - Amy Shen, woodwinds; Jesse Engel, guitar; Joe Costantini, bass; Shanuk Adkar, tabla. The Llamas first came together to perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he spoke at UC Berkeley in the spring of 2009. For more information, www.thellamas.bandcamp.com. UC Berkeley Contemporary Improvisation Ensemble: Students and alumni from Music 164: Current Trends in Improvised Music under the direction of Myra Melford, join together with Trio M to perform a rousing game of Cobra by John Zorn.

Trio M featuring Mark Dresser, Myra Melford, and Matt Wilson. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 students, seniors, groups 10+, $5 UC Berkeley students. Tickets for the April 23 concert may be purchased at Hertz Hall one hour prior to performance or in advance by calling (510) 642-9988 or http://tickets.berkeley.edu.

Saturday, April 24, 7:00pm, Maybeck Studio, Berkeley “Cooking it Up-Connections Between Improvisation, Music and Food" An intimate culinary and musical event with Chef Paul Canales of Oliveto and Trio M featuring Mark Dresser, Myra Melford, and Matt Wilson. Maybeck Studio. Sliding Scale $100.00-$200.00. For reservations, email to [email protected] Limited to 30 people.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the JIM Fund, please send a check made out to University of California Regents, to the Department of Music, 104 Morrison Hall, University of California, Berkeley CA 94702-1200, with a note that it is for the JIM Fund.

This story appears courtesy of Marshall Lamm Promotions & Public Relations.
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