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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson: Meltframe

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In a quietly forceful way, guitarist Mary Halvorson has cemented her place among the company of modern-day counterparts such as Eivind Aarset, Nels Cline and Terje Rypdal. The Brooklyn based composer/musician has performed with the likes of Anthony Braxton (both sharing credentials at Wesleyan University), cornet player Taylor Ho Bynum and the avant-garde group Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant. Halvorson has recorded with trumpeter Nate Wooley, multi-reedist Jon Irabagon and Norwegian bassist Eivind Opsvik. The consistent factor in Halvorson's career to date, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson: Meltframe

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It should come as no shock that Mary Halvorson's first solo guitar album is a mind-bender. In the past, regardless of where she's gone and who she's gone with, Halvorson has managed to surprise by liberally mixing uncommonly aggressive assaults, open-ended exploration(s), and, on occasion, calm(ing) cogitation. Here, standing all by her lonesome, all three of those aspects are in play. What's most shocking about this one is the material that Halvorson uses and the way she ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson: Reverse Blue

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In the past few years, Mary Halvorson, already an acclaimed member of New York's Downtown improv scene, has been earning widespread recognition as a bandleader and composer of note. Her writing displays an increasing sophistication with each new effort, revealing a compositional maturity as distinctive as her idiosyncratic guitar technique.Her latest ensemble, Reverse Blue, first performed at NYC's Blue Note as part of Search and Restore's “Spontaneous Constructions" series. The group's name was inspired by her father's curious ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson - Michael Formanek - Tomas Fujiwara: Thumbscrew

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Kindred musical spirits unite on this composers' cooperative, featuring three musicians who have been forerunners and antagonists of new-fangled directions in the avant-garde jazz spectrum, other than ripping into customary modern jazz fare with a vengeance. The artists' divergent discographies offer a worldly testament to these aspects, besides their work as first-call session aces. With Michael Formanek's pronounced bass lines, guitarist Mary Halvorson's fascinating permutations, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara laying down a host of perky grooves, the group executes within ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Mary Halvorson Septet: Illusionary Sea

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In 2009 Mary Halvorson was asked how relevant she felt that the word 'jazz' was to musicians of her generation. Her response was telling “Oh, I think about jazz all the time and although I don't play the traditional forms, I call myself a 'jazz musician.'.. trying to integrate everything into my own language." The corollary of this is that, while she has clear roots in jazz, Halvorson has assimilated influences from many genres of music and reflects this in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson Septet: Illusionary Sea

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Guitarist Mary Halvorson's signature sound and methodologies have been making an impact within avant-garde and progressive-jazz circles on a global basis. Illusionary Sea marks the debut of her septet, comprised of impressionable players often residing at the forefront of the newer kindling of what may loosely be classified as jazz. Here, like minds coalesce for an album that crosses jazz, classical and avant-garde frontiers, via Halvorson's intriguing compositions and oscillating, wave-like arrangements that rarely inhabit a continuous plane.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson Septet: Illusionary Sea

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Guitarist Mary Halvorson's Illusionary Sea is rich and intriguing filled with contrasting yet complementary motifs and patterns. Leading a septet of versatile and idiosyncratic musicians, Halvorson deftly entwines divergent musical threads into an elegant musical tapestry that bears her distinctive mark without overshadowing her band mates' individuality.The elaborately constructed pieces allow ample room for spontaneity. They are not, however, a mere showcase of the soloists' prowess, but rather the written melody and the impromptu musical constructs meld into ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Secret Keeper (Stephan Crump & Mary Halvorson): Super 8

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Bassist Stephan Crump and guitarist Mary Halvorson kindled the fire in 2011 during their initial encounter, leading to these sessions recorded in Brooklyn, N.Y. Of course, the respective artists are highly revered within modern jazz schemas and the outside realm, spanning a global presence as first-call session artists, paralleling their solo ventures. Hence, the duo crafts an organic-electric presence. Halvorson's unorthodox and rather beguiling technique sets her apart from many contemporaries. Her liquefying phraseology tenders a weirdly contagious musicality coupled ...


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