1. In a 23 September 1996, interview with the author, Melford elaborated on her various activities during her first years in New York:

“In a way, I was doing all the things musicians traditionally did one after another at the same time. When I arrived, I started attending Leroy Jenkins’ improvisation workshop, where he was developing much of his Mixed Quintet music. Instead of chord changes, there were specific motivic materials sometimes used as backgrounds for soloists. I met Marion Brandis, a flutist, there. Marion and I began working as a duo, exploring extended technique, texture, and sound for sound’s sake, building structured improvisations from spontaneous exchanges. At the same time, I took private lessons from Jaki Byard, thinking that I still wanted to play traditional jazz and bebop, but I’ve never been able to stick with real straight ahead playing. I always get sidetracked on something else. Then the downtown scene started happening at places like the Knitting Factory, and I was certainly influenced by (John) Zorn, Elliot Sharp, Ned Rothenberg, Butch Morris. I started participating in some of Butch’s Conductions, which then took place in these giant happenings with dozens of other artists and actors.

“I also began studying composition with Henry Threadgill, which really influenced the way I looked at composition. Marion and I mostly worked with texture. Through studying Henry I got more into melody and harmony and rhythm and realized that a lot of the music I was writing was very lyrical and harmonic and rhythmically based. I realized I did want to play in more of a ‘jazz’ based language, though I knew I didn’t want to play straight ahead jazz.

“I started playing solo around this time because Marion was expecting. I began to grapple with how to improvise upon the pieces I was writing, which were in a very different type of language. I started doing solo pieces at my concerts at the Knitting Factory, and one of the pieces was included on one of their anthologies. When that record came out, Michael Dorf asked me if I wanted to be part of a Knitting Factory tour in Europe. I had already been thinking about forming a trio, so the timing was right.

“So, I was touring with my own group, but studying and workshopping and working as a sideman at the same time.”

The anthology Melford referred to is Live at the Knitting Factory, Volume Two (A&M; 1989: currently issued on Knitting Factory Works). Melford later performed on Jenkins’ Themes and Improvisations on the Blues (CRI eXchange; 1994)