Belgian composer/pianist Myriam ALTER learned to play the piano in her childhood but left the music field for quite a while. At 36 she returned to the instrument and soon discovered her skills as a brilliant composer with an individual approach to romantic moods.
After a first quintet CD "Reminiscence", on which she still plays the piano, her next CD "Alter Ego" focused on her composing talents. The album was recorded by a quintet of US musicians, released in 1999 and warmly accepted by critics and audiences alike (Jazzman: ****, Jazz Hot: Sélection, Jazzthetik: ****, Image Hifi: First choice, Fono Forum: ****). German magazine Jazz thing read: "A candidate for the record of the year." And Fono Forum added: "Charming, sensitive music."
Coming from a Judeo-Spanish family (Sephardic Jews), Myriam Alter was raised with all kinds of musics such as Latin, Italian, Oriental, Spanish, South American and classical. As a piano player she was trained in classical music but later found her way into jazz.
Her new album "If" is about all the cultural influences that formed her as a person and musician.
"It truly expresses what I am and where I come from without compromising for any style or fashion," she says. As the music breathes Andalusian air and bows to Tango Nuevo, the composer consequently asked one of the great masters of bandoneon into the focal role: Argentinian improviser Dino Saluzzi, known for his extraordinary collaborations with jazz musician. Myriam Alter leaves the piano part to Kenny Werner: "He is the better pianist, I am the better composer. I asked these extraordinary musicians to play my songs because I knew they would instinctively understand what I intend in music."
Recorded by Joe Ferla at Manhattan's finest studio (Avatar), "If" is a carefully produced artistic project colored by the rare sound combination of bandoneon and clarinet. A wonderfully elegant album, "If" radiates with subtle melancholia and gripping melodicism. A real discovery.