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).


Tags

26
Album Review

Tomeka Reid Quartet: 3+3

Read "3+3" reviewed by Chris May


Jazz cello has come a long way since Fred Katz's pioneering work with Chico Hamilton in the 1950s. Back then, the instrument was looked on as a novelty turn. In 2024, while still relatively avant-garde, its presence in a lineup is less exceptional. A pivotal point was American cellist Adbul Wadud's By Myself (Bishara, 1977), an album Tomeka Reid has acknowledged as an inspiration, and which may have played a part in her transition from classical music to jazz around ...

5
Album Review

Myra Melford's Fire And Water Quintet: Hear The Light Singing

Read "Hear The Light Singing" reviewed by John Sharpe


Pianist Myra Melford's blue chip Fire And Water quintet assuredly sidesteps second album syndrome. Hear The Light Singing stands very much the equal of the band's superlative eponymous debut. The only change is that Lesley Mok takes Susie Ibarra's place behind the trapset, otherwise the triumvirate completing the starry squad remains Ingrid Laubrock on saxophones, Tomeka Reid on cello and Mary Halvorson on guitar. In the liners Melford explains that the five pieces titled “Insertions" here were ...

15
Album Review

Mary Halvorson: Cloudward

Read "Cloudward" reviewed by Doug Collette


The title of guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson's Cloudward alludes to the sense of optimism she has stated she felt when writing the bulk of the material in fall of 2022. And while this palpable sense of faith in the future is in marked contrast to the tangible air of eerie foreboding that surfaced so often on this LP's predecessors, the presence of largely the same personnel lineup--the Amaryllis Sextet-- provides a stable link of continuity. The reappearance of prior collaborators recording ...

11
Album Review

Mary Halvorson: Cloudward

Read "Cloudward" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Guitarist, composer & raconteur Mary Halvorson could very comfortably (and rightfully) wear the sobriquet of “The Charles Mingus of Guitar" if she wanted to. But even that open-ended comparison would limit her as she outdoes herself again on Cloudward. Though it must surely be getting harder to top herself given the string of releases--the deliberately articulate schizophrenia Amaryllis and Belladonna (Nonesuch, 2022), the unbridled trio synergy Multicolored Midnight (Cunneiform, 2018), the crackling mad invention propelling 2018's Code Girl (Firehouse 12 ...

2
Album Review

Illegal Crowns: Unclosing

Read "Unclosing" reviewed by John Sharpe


When a band of four leaders in their own right still exists over ten years after its inception, then something worthwhile is afoot. Illegal Crowns comprises the familiar American triumvirate of guitarist Mary Halvorson, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, who first crossed paths with French pianist Benoît Delbecq in 2012. Their third album Unclosing follows on from an eponymous debut (Rogue Art 2016) and the sophomore No-Nosed Puppet (Rogue Art , 2020). An accomplished blend of accessibility ...

18
In Pictures

Mary Halvorson in Mantova, Italy

Read "Mary Halvorson in Mantova, Italy" reviewed by Luciano Rossetti


A collection of photos from the double concert of Mary Halvorson in Mantova on March 12, 2023, organized by Matteo Gabutti and Associazione 4'33." Mary Halvorson Belladonna and Mary Halvorson Amaryllis with Tomas Fujiwara, Patricia Brennan, Nick Dunston, Adam O'Farrill, Jacob Garchik and Mivos Quartet. ...

Album Review

Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant avec folie à quatre: Séances

Read "Séances" reviewed by Vic Albani


Nel peculiare universo del “jazz obliquo" contemporaneo il bassista Trevor Dunn, ben conosciuto a chi approda spesso sulle spiagge del signor John Zorn, esiste da sempre un ben conosciuto e mai ben definito mondo di ricerca complessa e collegata ai mille meandri della mente umana. Racconta dunque Dunn che nella Francia del XVIII secolo esisteva una setta di cristiani, considerata eretica dai compagni servi di Dio, chiamata i Convulsionari di Saint-Médard. Dopo la morte di un amato diacono, ...

Read more articles
2

Performance / Tour

Mary Halvorson Residency At New England Conservatory Features Live Public Concert On Thursday, October 7

Mary Halvorson Residency At New England Conservatory Features Live Public Concert On Thursday, October 7

Source: Braithwaite & Katz Communications

New England Conservatory’s internationally renowned Contemporary Improvisation (CI) Department hosts groundbreaking guitarist, composer, and improviser and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson for a three-day residency Tuesday, October 5 – Thursday, October 7. Halvorson, “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz” (Wall Street Journal), will participate in student rehearsals, present an artist discussion about her work, coach NEC student ensembles in a masterclass, and lead a concert featuring student performances of her music. Public and streaming events include: Wednesday, ...

1

Festival

Vision 19 Honors A New Generation Of Vision Artists

Vision 19 Honors A New Generation Of Vision Artists

Source: Chris Rich

Honoring a New Generation of Vision Artists. Music and Art calls each generation. The Vision continues with important younger artists like Mary Halvorson and Susan Alcorn and Fay Victor with Tyshawn Sorrey. There are a few excellent young musicians playing with Charles Gayle, like Shayna Dulberger, Ingrid Laubrock and Mazz Swift. Michael Wimberly has put together an eclectic group of younger and older musicians and dancers. On Saturday we are featuring two younger groups, Tarbaby with Nasheet Waits, Eric Revis, ...

3

Contest

Enter the "Mary Halvorson / Weasel Walter / Peter Evans - Mechanical Malfunction" Giveaway at All About Jazz!

Enter the "Mary Halvorson / Weasel Walter / Peter Evans - Mechanical Malfunction"  Giveaway at All About Jazz!

Source: All About Jazz

All About Jazz members are invited to enter the Thirsty Ear Recordings “Mary Halvorson / Weasel Walter / Peter Evans - Mechanical Malfunction“ giveaway contest starting today. We'll select FIVE winners at the conclusion of the contest on January 1st. Click here to enter the contest (Becoming a fan of Mary Halvorson at AAJ automatically enters you in the contest.) Good luck! Your Friends at Thirsty Ear Recordings About Mechanical Malfunction Following their critically acclaimed debut trio album, Electric Fruit, ...

69

Event

Alternative Guitar Summit brings together Nels Cline, Mary Halvorson, Ben Monder, Thurston Moore: Jan. 13-15, plus many more

Alternative Guitar Summit brings together Nels Cline, Mary Halvorson, Ben Monder, Thurston Moore: Jan. 13-15, plus many more

Source: Fully Altered Media

Joel Harrison presents the Alternative Guitar Summit Co-sponsored by the New York Guitar Festival Featuring Nels Cline, Mary Halvorson, Vic Juris, Ben Monder, Thurston Moore and many more! January 13, 14 and 15, 2012 Rockwood Music Hall 196 Allen Street New York, NY 10002 (212) 477-4155 The guitar these days is a kind of magic wand, a poly-theistic blow torch, lovely, raging, gentle, noisy, intimate, voluminous, hallucinogenic, funky, juvenile, ageless. More than ...

204

Recording

Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone - Thin Air (2009)

Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone - Thin Air (2009)

Source: Something Else!

By Mark Saleski Tom Waits is a mysterious fellow. I mean, how much do we really know about him? Given the erudite nature of his music, I suppose we know enough. Oh sure, we've all heard the stories. Drivin' the kids on the field trip to the music store in that tank of an Oldsmobile... and not getting any recognition from the staff. Drivin' to the dump in that tank of an Oldmobile and getting recognized by the employees. Even ...

116

Recording

Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson and Peter Evans - Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear, 2011)

Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson and Peter Evans - Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear, 2011)

Source: Music and More by Tim Niland

Three of the most adventurous musicians on the contemporary improvisation scene, drummer and percussionist Weasel Walter, guitarist Mary Halvorson and trumpeter Peter Evans combine for a fascinating album of collective improvisation that is entirely impossible to categorize (in a good way.) The song titles and the wonderful album artwork give a science fiction/steampunk air to the proceedings, opening with “Mangosteen 3000 A.D." that features splintered, fragmented trio improvisation and sputtering trumpet over strong guitar. Evans' strong brass takes command and ...

61

Recording

The Friday Morning Listen: Mary Halvorson Quintet - Saturn Sings (2010)

The Friday Morning Listen: Mary Halvorson Quintet - Saturn Sings (2010)

Source: Something Else!

By Mark Saleski Time to return to one of my favorite topics: Why do I like that? Have you ever engaged in this kind of self-debate? There are all sorts of ways to play. There's the Top-40 angle: “Come On Eileen...Bawitdaba!? Hmmm...I better not tell anybody," the Angle of Pure Nostalgia: “People might look down on Boston's so-called corporate rock, but that girlfriend I had? I'll never forget Don't Look Back." I don't want to give you the wrong idea ...

207

Recording

Mary Halvorson Quintet - Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12, 2010)

Mary Halvorson Quintet - Saturn Sings (Firehouse 12, 2010)

Source: Music and More by Tim Niland

Adventurous guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been garnering much attention for her work as a collaborator and side person on several notable albums. After taking time to compose new material for quintet, she is back in the leader position, working with Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto saxophone, John Hebert on bass and Ches Smith on drums. The album is an interesting and angular proposition that takes its inspiration from avant-garde jazz, rock music and other sources ...

80

Recording

One Track Mind: Mary Halvorson "Sea Seizure (No. 19)" (2010)

One Track Mind: Mary Halvorson "Sea Seizure (No. 19)" (2010)

Source: Something Else!

By Pico I don't pay a great deal of attention to what other jazz critics say about records as I probably should; chalk it up to laziness, I suppose. But even my lazy ass couldn't help but notice all the interest in media circles buzzing around guitarist Mary Halvorson's record released earlier this month, Saturn Sings. The jazz nuts at NPR have been going gaga over it, and so has Jason Moran. The notoriety and praise has even gone international. ...

74

Radio

The Jazz Session #201: Mary Halvorson

The Jazz Session #201: Mary Halvorson

Source: AAJ Staff


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

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Cloudward

Self Produced
2024

buy

Cloudward

Nonesuch Records
2024

buy

3+3

Cuneiform Records
2024

buy

Unclosing

Out Of Your Head Records
2023

buy

March

Firehouse 12 Records
2022

buy

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

Pedernal

From: Pedernal
By Mary Halvorson

Walls and Roses

From: Artlessly Falling
By Mary Halvorson

Videos

Similar

Get more of a good thing!

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