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Mary Halvorson / Joe Morris: Traversing Orbits

Read "Traversing Orbits" reviewed by John Sharpe

Birds of a feather flock together might be the motto of acclaimed guitarist Mary Halvorson as she has made a habit of teaming up with fellow pickers on a series of dates. Prominent among them is The Maid With The Flaxen Hair: A Tribute to Johnny Smith (Tzadik Records, 2018) with Bill Frisell, but among others there are also encounters with Miles Okazaki on Paimon: Mary Halvorson Quartet plays Masada Book Two (Tzadik Records, 2017) and her part in Marc ...

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Thumbscrew: Theirs

Read "Theirs" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The trio Thumbscrew is releasing simultaneously two recordings from a single session, Theirs and Ours. The first is an album of cover songs and the latter originals by the band. While these reductionist tags might describe the music in its fundamental aspects, these two recordings are the product of one intricate process and trio language. The three musicians that form Thumbscrew, guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, also collaborate in various other projects, including ...

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Thumbscrew: Theirs

Read "Theirs" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

It has been four years since Thumbscrew, the trio of guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, released their self-titled debut (Cuneiform Records, 2014). The trio is simultaneously releasing two albums--their third and fourth--Ours and Theirs on the same label. As the titles indicate, one album consists of original compositions and the other, covers from a very eclectic assortment of artists from Benny Golson to Wayne Shorter and far less familiar names. The latter of the two ...

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Mary Halvorson: Code Girl

Read "Code Girl" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Those familiar with guitarist Mary Halvorson's numerous projects have become well-acquainted with the idiosyncratic, unorthodox, sometimes cerebral approach she takes to her craft. Halvorson's compositions are consistently thoughtful but rarely predictable and her improvising is similarly distinctive, so expecting the unexpected is par for the course. Even so, the breadth of Halvorson's interests and influences can be startling, as anyone who's heard her work with Marc Ribot's Young Philadelphians on Live in Tokyo (Yellowbird, 2015) can tell you. It only ...

IN PICTURES
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Mary Halvorson: Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32

Read "Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32" reviewed by Don Phipps

Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32 offers up the final installment in prolific composer John Zorn's 32-album sojourn (titled Book of Angels). It is an exciting and fitting capstone. From the start, the music dances its way through contrasts of exciting, mysterious, probing, exotic, and shifting musical folk-jazz idioms, improvisations and compositions. The Mary Halvorson Quartet are Tomas Fujiwara on drums, Drew Gress on bass, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Miles Okazaki on guitar. There is ...

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Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

Read "Away With You" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 ...

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Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

Read "Away With You" reviewed by Troy Dostert

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. ...

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Mary Halvorson: Meltframe

Read "Meltframe" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

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, ...

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Mary Halvorson: Meltframe

Read "Meltframe" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

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 ...

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Mary Halvorson: Reverse Blue

Read "Reverse Blue" reviewed by Troy Collins

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 ...

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Mary Halvorson - Michael Formanek - Tomas Fujiwara: Thumbscrew

Read "Thumbscrew" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 ...