Meilana Gillard - Dream Within a Dream review: as charming as it is courageous

Wed, May 24, 2017, 15:30


Dream Within a Dream

Meilana Gillard

Lyte Records


There’s nowhere to hide in a saxophone, bass and drums trio, but saxophonist Meilana Gillard wouldn’t need it anyway. Born in London, raised in Ohio, blooded on the competitive New York scene and now based in Belfast, Gillard is a gutsy, inventive player with a forceful melodic sense and an open, old-school tenor sound.

Bassist Neil Ó Loclainn, best known for his trailblazing Ensemble Eiru, shows he can also tend the centre of the jazz tradition, and producer David Lyttle turns in a bravura drum performance full of fresh, disruptive ideas.

There is always a danger with such an austere form that the results will be admirable without necessarily being all that enjoyable, but Gillard’s full-throated contribution to the saxophone trio canon is as charming as it is courageous.