All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Given her diverse work with Anthony Braxton, Trevor Dunn and Mike Pride, her duos with Jessica Pavone and Kevin Shea and a number of other projects, guitarist Mary Halvorson might have gone any number of directions with her debut as a bandleader. Safe bet it would include some precise, proficient playing, probably some jagged edges and maybe some noise. But in the last few years Halvorson has shown there to be a number of tricks up her sleeve.
With Dragon's Head, she seems to have decided to go all directions at once and quite tidily. She wrote the ten pieces on the disc specifically for the bandJohn Hebert on bass and Ches Smith on drumsand they rise well to what's been put before them. While some of her projects have leaned toward avant rock and sui generis song, Dragon's Head is an instrumental record of slippery jazz. The first track, "Old Nine Two Six For Two Dies (No. 10)" (showing her commitment to the band project, the tracks are numbered to show the order they were composed in) is the last piece she wrote for the album and jazziest cut on the disc, a laid back number with plenty of melody, her electric guitar almost pianistic at times. It serves not so much as a framework in its placement here but as a departure point for the rest of the record.
The disc quickly nosedives (quite gloriously) into rockier glades. The second track introduces her deft use of effects, heavy distortion and rubbery pitch-shifting. The rest of the album is dedicated to charting the grounds between: extreme layering of tempos; unison passages that pound a different punk-prog than has been heard before and unaccompanied solos (by all three) that challenge as much as the composed segments do. But remarkably Dragon's Head never feels de-contextualized; the rugs might change, but they're not pulled out from under you.
Track Listing: Old Nine Two Six Four Two Dies (No. 10); Monentary Lapse (No. 1); Screws Loose (No. 8); Scant Frame (No. 2); Sweeter Than You (No. 4); Sank Silver Purple White (No. 5); Too Many Ties (No. 6); Totally Opaque (No. 7); Dragon's Head (No. 9); April April May (No. 3).
Personnel: Mary Halvorson: guitar; Josh Herbert: bass; Ches Smith: drums.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com