227

Mary Halvorson Trio: Dragon's Head

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Mary Halvorson Trio: Dragon's Head 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 band—John Hebert on bass and Ches Smith on drums—and 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.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Firehouse 12 Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Eastern Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Eastern Smiles
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Parallax" CD/LP/Track Review Parallax
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "The Getaway" CD/LP/Track Review The Getaway
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Leaving Everything Behind" CD/LP/Track Review Leaving Everything Behind
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Carrera Quinta Big Band" CD/LP/Track Review Carrera Quinta Big Band
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!