Support All About Jazz

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.


I want to help

Jazz Articles | Blog

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

Read "Away With You" reviewed by

This debut octet outing led by guitarist Mary Halvorson is packed with an all-star team, featuring alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, bassist John Hébert and other notables. However, one of the differentiators is the addition of pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, who pushes the envelope above and beyond standard fare, sans the traditional Country music element. As many would anticipate, Halvorson integrates a modicum of surprises into the program that include false endings, shifting cadences, melancholic interludes and manic breakdowns amid ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

Read "Away With You" reviewed by

Continuing her streak of outstanding releases, guitarist extraordinaire Mary Halvorson once again shows her determination to build upon her unique style as a composer and bandleader. She's taken her septet from 2013's superb Illusionary Sea and added an eighth member, pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, and the resulting music is typical Halvorson: harmonically complex, emotionally compelling, and full of interesting moments worth savoring. The first thing one notices about Alcorn's presence is the sense of atmosphere she provides. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Formanek - Tomas Fujiwara - Mary Halvorson: Convallaria

Read "Convallaria" reviewed by

Three hyper-progressive improvisational jazz and cross-genre artists push the envelope again on their 2nd album for Cuneiform Records. The musicians' busy schedules via numerous and largely prolific solo and group-based projects have rocketed their respective artistries into the limelight, especially ECM recording artist Michael Formanek (bass) who for the past several decades has become a household name within these circles. Nonetheless, it's an adventurous exploration, led by guitarist Mary Halvorson's signature phraseology, comprised of extended lines that vaporize into the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson: Meltframe

Read "Meltframe" reviewed by

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

Read "Meltframe" reviewed by

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

Read "Reverse Blue" reviewed by

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

Read "Thumbscrew" reviewed by

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

Read "Mary Halvorson Septet: Illusionary Sea" reviewed by

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 ...


All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.