While Mary Halvorson has been active in the creative jazz scene for over a decade, she has truly come into her own in the last three or so years. It is not just that she has appeared on eleven recordings in 2013 alone. Her recent releases Imaginary Sea (AMN review here) and Thumbscrew (AMN review here), for example, both exhibit a new level of compositional maturity for the guitarist. Reverse Blue, officially releasing in October, continues that trend.
Her group on this quartet recording includes Chris Speed on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Eivind Opsvik on bass, and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Halvorson’s deliberate, prickly guitar-wielding is on display, with characteristic bent notes and unexpected directions. For instance, her heavy riffing and soloing on the opening track, Torturer’s Reverse Delight, is offset by a more introspective and jazzy approach on Hako, as well ominous falling tones on Rebel’s Revue. All four musicians contribute equally to these efforts, often collaborating in contrapunctal lines and dissonance. Another keeper from Ms. Halvorson.