Mary Halvorson Named 2019 MacArthur Foundation Fellow

Source: MacArthur Foundation.

Mary Halvorson is a guitarist, ensemble leader, and composer who is pushing against established musical categories with a singular sound on her instrument and an aesthetic that evolves with each new album and configuration of bandmates. She melds her jazz roots with elements of experimental rock, folk, and other musical traditions, reflecting a wide range of stylistic influences.

Halvorson’s guitar playing is distinguished by her percussive picking style and the distinctive clarity of tone she produces on her vintage Guild hollow-body guitar, which she amplifies with subtle, pitch-bending electronic interventions. She is equally adept at picking out delicate and nuanced melodic lines and producing a spray of atmospheric noise. Over the past dozen years, she has performed solo and in settings ranging from intimate chamber jazz ensembles to genre-crossing groups of five, seven, and eight players. Her debut album as a bandleader, Dragon’s Head (2008), features her original compositions written for a trio of guitar, string bass, and drums. On Away with You (2016), she leads an octet that fluidly blends the timbres of a brass section with the dramatic effects of a pedal steel guitar, an instrument more frequently associated with country music than with jazz. For the ambitious double album Code Girl (2018), Halvorson composed both original music and lyrics for a quintet that includes her longtime, three-player collective, Thumbscrew, joined by a vocalist and trumpeter. Each track on the album showcases her interest in finding ever more imaginative ways to build intricate musical structures with ample space for improvisation and organic collaboration and to balance striking harmonies with moments of dissonance and distortion.

A virtuosic performer and adventurous composer, Halvorson defies convention with her idiosyncratic, sonic explorations at the intersection of jazz and rock.

AMN Picks of the Week: Hermetic Brotherhood of Lux-Or / Erik Levander / Patton & Vannier / Ben Rempel / The Gate

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Hermetic Brotherhood of Lux-Or – Sex and Dead Cities (2019)
Erik Levander – Inåt (2019)
Mike Patton / Jean-Claude Vannier – Corpse Flower (2019)
Ben Rempel – Desert Music (2019)
The Gate – House of Snuzz (2019)

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Kristin Norderval, Paula Shocron, Pablo Díaz – Future Retrospection (NendoDango Records, 2019) ****

Paula Shocron and Pablo Diaz: Always In Motion (part 1)

Binker Goldings – Abstractions of Reality Past & Incredible Feathers (Gearbox, 2019) ***½

Simon Nabatov’s Great Passion for Subversive Russian Literature

Tiger Trio – Map of Liberation (RogueArt, 2019) ****

Ricardo Arias / Santiago Botero / Kim Myhr – Contrived (Raw Tonk, 2019) ***½

Liquid Quintet ‎– Bouquet (Sirulita Records, 2019) ****

Seattle Scene: September 25 – October 12, 2019

From Seattle’s Wayward Music Series:


Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center

4th Floor, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103 (corner N 50th St. in Wallingford)

Every month, Nonsequitur and a community of like-minded presenters and artists offer ten concerts of adventurous music in an informal yet respectful all-ages setting: contemporary classical, free improvisation, the outer limits of jazz, electronic music, microtonal/new instruments, sound art, and other extraordinary sonic experiences.

Eubanks / Kelley / Lamb
Wed. Sep. 25, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

Currently based in Berlin, Bryan Eubanks & Cat Lamb present an evening of electroacoustic improvisation and composition. 1st set: Greg Kelley, trumpet & Bryan Eubanks, saxophone electronics. 2nd set: Catherine Lamb – Prisma Interius IV (2017) for viola, voices, secondary rainbow synthesizer, and trumpet, performed by Catherine Lamb, viola & voice; Bryan Eubanks, electronics & voice; Greg Kelley, trumpet; Laura Steenberge, viola & viola d’gamba.

Different Drummer
Fri. Sep. 27, 8 PM; $15, $10 youth & seniors

Different Drummer has a whole new show! Comprised of three string players from the region’s premier chamber orchestra, the Northwest Sinfonietta, these “classical musicians” definitely know how to step out of their orchestral habitat. Prepare to be entertained, amused and exhilarated by this unique collaboration! The group includes Brandon Vance (violin), Gretchen Yanover (cello), Anna Doak (bass), and Don Dieterich (percussion).

Steve Peters: Canções Profundas
Thu. Sep. 26, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

An evening-length work by Seattle composer Steve Peters. Inspired by research into his family history in the Azores, a chain of nine volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic, this evocative sonic poem explores themes of migration, diaspora, memory, identity and emotional/cultural ties to place. With Greg Campbell (percussion), Jesse Canterbury (clarinets), Lesli Dalaba (trumpet), Amy Denio (sax, clarinet, voice), and Christian Pincock (trombone).

The Sound Ensemble: Reflections
Sat. Sep. 28, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

The Sound Ensemble presents Reflections, a musical meditation on who we are as individuals and as a community, what our impact on the world has been and where we can go from here. Join us for this wonderful evening of music, community and refreshments. You won’t want to miss this incredible performance by rising star violinist Marley Erickson! Music by Christopher Dietz, Jerry Mader, Jennifer Butler, Sang Mi Ahn, Bohuslav Martinu.

Thu. 10/10 – Nothing says dark and angular quite like piano trio Don’t Move, with their original works and clever covers raining down as an aural cleansing

Fri. 10/11 – Amy Denio reprises her suite for 21-piece chamber orchestra, Truth Is Up for Grabs, with video projections by James Drage

Sat. 10/12 – Amy Denio reprises her suite for 21-piece chamber orchestra, Truth Is Up for Grabs, with video projections by James Drage

King Crimson in Philadelphia Reviewed

Source: Echoes.

King Crimson creates the music of dystopia and it has never been so exhilarating. The venerable English progressive rock icons, now celebrating 50 years since the release of their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King. Despite not having released a new studio album since 2003’s The Power to Believe, the band continues on in an expanded edition, led by the only remaining founding member, guitarist Robert Fripp.

Coming into a nearly full house at The Met in Philadelphia, Krimson assayed music from across their catalog, most notably with signature tracks from In the Court and the Larks Tongue in Aspic eras of the band. King Crimson is a cruising assault of staccato rhythm shifts, banshee guitar solos and deliriously ecstatic free-jazz saxophone, except when it’s exquisitely beautiful, like their take on “Islands”, a resplendent, romantic, pastoral ballad, words not usually associated with the band.

ECM Records Artists on Tour in October

Source: ECM Records. Highlights include:

Vijay Iyer
Oct 4 Los Angeles, LA (Mr. Musichead Gallery)
Oct 5 Costa Mesa, CA (Segerstrom Center for the Arts)
Oct 16 New York, NY (Bruno Walter Auditorium)
Oct 24 New York, NY (Miller Theater)

Sun of Goldfinger (Torn/Berne/Smith)
Oct. 13 New York, NY (Nublu 151)

Kim Kashkashian
Oct. 15 Miami, FL (Viola Visions: The Karen Tuttle Heritage)
Oct. 17 Miami, FL (New World Center)

David Virelles
Oct 27 Berkeley, CA (Cal Performances, UC Berkeley)

ECM 50th Anniversary
With Tigran Hamasyan, Areni Agbabian, Ralph Alessi, Wadada Leo Smith, Larry Grenadier and many more
Oct 24th – 27th San Francisco, CA
(Miner Auditorium & Joe Henderson Lab, SFAJZZ)

ECM Records at 50
With Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Egberto Gismonti, Enrico Rava, Craig Taborn, Nik Bártsch and many more….
Nov. 1-2 New York, NY