Home » Jazz Musicians » Mary Halvorson

Mary Halvorson

The success of her acclaimed 2008 debut, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records), led critics to call Ms. Halvorson “probably the most original jazz guitarist to emerge this decade” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader) and “the freshest, busiest, most critically acclaimed guitar-slinger out of downtown Manhattan/Brooklyn right now” (Howard Mandel, Jazz Beyond Jazz).

“A singular talent,” adds AllAboutJazz.com’s Troy Collins, “Brooklyn-based guitarist Mary Halvorson has come into her own as a composer and improviser…light years ahead of her peers, she is the most impressive guitarist of her generation. The future of jazz guitar starts here.”

A veteran of the ensembles of esteemed saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton, Ms. Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. In addition to her trio, which also recently expanded to a quintet, she co-leads a chamber music duo with violist Jessica Pavone and the avant-rock project, People, with drummer Kevin Shea.

She has also performed in ensembles led by Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Curtis Hasselbring, Tony Malaby, Myra Melford, Nicole Mitchell, Jason Moran, Tom Rainey, Marc Ribot, Matana Roberts, Elliott Sharp, John Tchicai and Matthew Welch among many others.

Her latest release is Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12 Records).


Mary Halvorson and her guitar have offered some of the freshest rainfall on the jazz umbrella. Her compositions challenge mundane notions of melody and harmony: a true step forward for the music movement.
—Jason Moran, New York Magazine

Frequently lauded as the most original and innovative guitarist of her generation, Halvorson's unorthodox virtuosity has positioned her at the creative forefront of the youthful Brooklyn scene. Demonstrating growth as a composer on ten new pieces conceived primarily for her Quintet, Halvorson's embrace of contrapuntal harmonies and modular structures reveals a multi-faceted artist whose writing is as impressive as her improvising.
—Troy Collins, Point of Departure

Read more


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Out Of Your Head Records



Firehouse 12 Records



Yes Records


Ancient Songs of...

Pyroclastic Records



Pyroclastic Records


Secours Meurtriers

From: Séances
By Mary Halvorson

Returning to Drown Myself, Finally

From: Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes
By Mary Halvorson

Pack Up, Coming for You

From: March
By Mary Halvorson

Golden Proportion

From: Searching for the Disappeared...
By Mary Halvorson


From: Pedernal
By Mary Halvorson

Walls and Roses

From: Artlessly Falling
By Mary Halvorson



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.