An Interview With Mary Halvorson

mary halvorson
mary halvorson (Photo credit: carlo pecoraro)

From Frontier Psychiatrist:

Mary Halvorson might be tired of people arguing about what constitutes jazz, but she’s certainly not tired. The prolific, genre-defying, avant-garde, New York-via-Boston guitarist not only leads a trio, quartet, and septet, but she plays solo, having released tremendous records like 2012’s Bending Bridges that saw her appeal to noise fans just as much as jazz fans. Her latest venture is Thumbscrew, her new band with drummer Tomas Fujiwara and double bassist Michael Formanek (“The name is fitting because parts of the music can be gritty and intense,” Halvorson says). Thumbscrew’s eponymous debut album was released in January, and it’s not a huge departure from Halvorson’s work with her other bands. While Fujiwara’s drums might not be as virtuosic as those of Ches Smith (drummer for Halvorson’s bands and Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog), Thumbscrew, like Halvorson’s music and career as a whole, juxtaposes, for lack of a better term, the jazzy with the crazy. It allows her, Fujiwara, and Formanek to showcase their individual talents while simultaneously exemplifying the flow and chemistry they’ve come to develop from multiple years of rehearsing and recording.

Jazz Listings From The New York Times

Tim Berne
Cover of Tim Berne


Tim Berne-Matt Mitchell Duo Featuring David Torn (Friday and Saturday) Over the last five years or so, Mr. Berne, an intensely focused saxophonist and composer, has struck an excellent rapport with Mr. Mitchell, a pianist — notably on a pair of albums featuring Snakeoil, Mr. Berne’s current band. Here they strip down to a duo, sharing the bill with another Berne affiliate, the electric guitarist and producer David Torn. At 8:30 p.m., IBeam, 168 Seventh Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn,; $15 suggested donation. (Chinen)

Marty Ehrlich’s Trio Exaltation (Wednesday) Mr. Ehrlich, a versatile alto saxophonist and virtuoso clarinetist, wasn’t overstating the case when he came up with the name for this promising new trio, with John Hébert on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. The group makes its second Sound It Out series appearance, playing some music conceived with this personnel in mind. At 8 p.m., Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, West Village, 212-242-4770,; $20, $15 for students. (Chinen)

Peter Evans Zebulon Trio (Tuesday) Peter Evans, a trumpeter with an expressive command of timbre and texture, named this trio — with Moppa Elliott on bass and Kassa Overall on drums — after the sorely missed club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where it recorded an album, “Zebulon,” that provides a loose framework of expectation here. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, 212-989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)

Freedom of Sound: Eric Dolphy (Friday and Saturday) The music of the multireedist Eric Dolphy, with its deft angularities and jangling logic, has grown in stature since his death 50 years ago this month. This two-day festival will gather an impressive range of musicians in his name, and feature several of his previously unheard compositions. The bassist Richard Davis, a former associate of Dolphy’s, will perform on both days, in solo, duo and larger formats. Among the other highlights on Friday are a drum duet between Andrew Cyrille and Pheeroan akLaff; a set by the multireedist Henry Threadgill with the pianist David Virelles; and the Dolphy Bass Clarinet Quartet. Saturday’s lineup, which begins with an academic symposium, will feature Tarbaby with the alto saxophonist Oliver Lake; a duo between Mr. akLaff and the guitarist Vernon Reid; and the Sound of Freedom Ensemble, conducted by the flutist James Newton. Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m., Memorial Auditorium, Montclair State University, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, N.J., 973-655-5112,; $20 each day. (Chinen)

Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra (Wednesday) The percussionist and composer Adam Rudolph has an endlessly pliable outlet in the Go: Organic Orchestra, a large ensemble trained to execute his ideas. For this premiere, he’ll conduct an all-guitar edition of the group so chock-full of serious players that it’s only fair to list them in alphabetical order: Rez Abbasi, Damon Banks, Marco Cappelli, Nels Cline, Liberty Ellman, David Gilmore, Joel Harrison, Jerome Harris, Miles Okazaki, Brandon Ross and Kenny Wessel. At 7:30 and 9 p.m., ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn,; $15. (Chinen)

Russ Johnson’s Still Out to Lunch (Wednesday) At a moment of acute appreciation for Eric Dolphy, the trumpeter Russ Johnson pays tribute to that multireedist’s best-loved album, “Out to Lunch,” released half a century ago. Joining Mr. Johnson are the saxophonist Roy Nathanson, the pianist Orrin Evans, the bassist Brad Jones and the drummer George Schuller. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, 212-989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)

Classical Music Listings From The New York Times

Pierre Boulez
Cover of Pierre Boulez


Arvo Part Project (Saturday) This Estonian composer has made a rare trip to the States to hear this concert, produced by the St. Vladimir’s Seminary. On the program are some of Mr. Part’s greatest hits — including “Fratres,” “Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten” and “Adam’s Lament” — performed by some of his greatest interpreters, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. Tonu Kaljuste conducts. At 8 p.m., Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, 212-247-7800,; limited availability. (Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim)

Flux Quartet (Friday through Sunday) This adventurous ensemble concludes its weeklong residency at the Stone, with two events nightly. Offerings include a program dedicated to downtown visionaries and works by drone pioneers; an electro-acoustic lineup with Michael Schumacher; a program of pieces by jazz innovators; and premieres by the Canadian composer Barbara Monk Feldman. At 8 and 10 p.m., Avenue C and Second Street, East Village,; $15. (Schweitzer)

NY Phil Biennial: Bang on a Can (Friday and Saturday) Bang on a Can presents Julia Wolfe’s “Anthracite Fields,” an oratorio for instrumental ensemble and eight-part chorus inspired by the coal-mining legacy of Pennsylvania. The work will be performed on a double bill with Steven Mackey’s “Dreamhouse,” a genre hybrid that will be played by the Philharmonic. Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m., Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, 212-875-5656,; $49. (Schweitzer)

NY Phil Biennial: Circles of Influence: Pierre Boulez (Saturday) Pablo Heras-Casado will conduct the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a program exploring the legacy of Mr. Boulez, the composer and conductor, whose works will be performed alongside those of Bruno Mantovani, Heinz Holliger, Philippe Manoury and Marc-André Dalbavie. Mr. Heras-Casado will host the program with Ara Guzelimian, dean of the Juilliard School. At 2 p.m., Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway, 212-875-5656,; $45. (Schweitzer)

NY Phil Biennial: Marino Formenti (Wednesday) The breadth of the offerings of the biennial organized by the New York Philharmonic is indicated by the inclusion of this pianist in a solo recital titled “Liszt Inspections.” The program focuses on pieces that reveal the mystical, progressive, even radical side of Liszt, including some with provocative titles, like “Bagatelle Without Tonality.” Mr. Formenti will juxtapose these with contemporary works by Ligeti, Berio, Feldman, John Adams and Gyorgy Kurtag. The Kaplan Penthouse is an ideal setting for this exploratory program, which offers table seating and complimentary wine. At 9:30 p.m., Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center, 165 West 65th Street, 212-721-6500,,; $45 and $60. (Tommasini)

Portland Shows in June

Tim Berne
Cover of Tim Berne

From Portland’s Creative Music Guild:

Tim Berne & local performers
June 4, 2014 — 8PM (ends by 10PM)
$5 – 15, sliding scale
Revival Drum Shop
1465 NE Prescott Ave

The Improvisation Summit of Portland 2014
June 5, 6 & 7, 2014 — Thurs. 7PM, Fri. 5:30 PM , Sat. 4:30 PM
Ticket info at, sliding scale
Sandbox Studios
420 NE 9th Ave.

Keyon Gaskin/Justin Smith Duo & Cartridge
June 18, 2014 — 8PM (ends by 10PM)
$5 – 15, sliding scale
Revival Drum Shop
1465 NE Prescott Ave

The Roulette in June

Tan Dun
Cover of Tan Dun

From New York’s Roulette:

Adam Neely’s Mass Extinction Event: //exigence\\ Adam Neely presents the debut of his large ensemble, Mass Extinction Event, with an hour long tone poem depicting the end of the world.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11, 2014 @ 7:00 PM
Vision Festival 19: June 11th-15th Roulette and Arts for Art, Inc. present Vision Festival 19, New York’s premiere festival of free/avant-garde/experimental/world jazz music bringing together visionaries from New York and all over the world for dynamic collaborations, the exploration of new sounds, and to foster multicultural and multigenerational dialogue….

Elke Rindfleisch/Sarah Weber Gallo Longtime collaborators Elke Rindfleisch and Sarah Weber Gallo team up once more to create a new work for Roulette

Elke Rindfleisch/Sarah Weber Gallo Longtime collaborators Elke Rindfleisch and Sarah Weber Gallo team up once more to create a new work for Roulette

Elke Rindfleisch/Sarah Weber Gallo Longtime collaborators Elke Rindfleisch and Sarah Weber Gallo team up once more to create a new work for Roulette

David Watson, with Sean Meehan and a special guest Long note improvisations and compositions, duos and trios that use space as an organizing device.

[EAR HEART MUSIC] Momenta Quartet with Min Xiao-Fen Gyan Riley & David Cosin – Ghost Opera A rare performance of Tan Dun‘s Ghost Opera for string quartet & pipa with water, metal, stones & paper

Marilyn Nonken & Collide-O-Scope Music – Figure & Ground “Figure and Ground” is an eclectic program of contemporary works that in different ways explore innovative approaches to the relationship between developing figures and the environments in which they’re set. …

Nate Wooley’s Argonautica Argonautica is a new project that combines elements of aleatoric and minimalist compositional aesthetics and forces them the prism of early fusion (when jazz/rock was dirty)….