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Myra Melford, Scott Amendola, Ben Goldberg, John Shifflet 

When: Sun., Dec. 4, 8 p.m. 2011
Price: $22.50, $24.50

A powerhouse quartet by all measures, Melford/Amendola/Goldberg/Shifflet includes four jazz musicians who, despite being leaders in their own right, are all known for their humility. Myra Melford's Be Bread sextet plays original compositions that defy all formal constraints; instead, Melford encourages her fellow musicians to improvise for long stretches while she sits quietly at the piano. Ben Goldberg, a clarinetist, leads many experimental combos, including the massive Brainchild, which specializes in spontaneous music -- meaning he walks up to individual band members and whispers instructions in their ears. Scott Amendola is one of the best jazz drummers around, but he also plays in a lot of noise and "improv" acts that privilege sound over melody. John Shifflet has played bass in several of Amendola's bands, so he's well accustomed to an ever-shifting rhythm section. Though they've all played together in many permutations, these musicians have never appeared as a quartet. If you fancy a leaderless movement, look no further. At Freight & Salvage (2020 Addison St., Berkeley) on Sunday, Dec. 4. 8 p.m., $20.50-$22.50. FreightandSalvage.org

— Rachel Swan

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