Mary Halvorson Trio's Debut CD Coming October 28th on Firehouse 12 Records
Firehouse 12 Records is proud to announce the October 28th release of Dragon's Head (FH12-04-01-007), Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson's debut recording as a bandleader. Recorded in February at the label's state of the art studio in New Haven, Connecticut, it features ten new original compositions written specifically for her longstanding trio with bassist John Hebert and drummer Ches Smith. She has previously composed music for recordings with her chamber music duo with violist Jessica Pavone and the avant-rock duo, People, with drummer Kevin Shea, but this is her first release alone at the helm of her own ensemble.
I have always gravitated towards the guitar/bass/drum trio format," writes Ms. Halvorson in the liner notes. It is a perfect context to express the versatility of the guitar as a solo and rhythm section instrument, and to hear the subtleties of all three instruments as they interact. I have wanted to write for this instrumentation for years, but this project is the first time I have actually attempted it. This trio is also a great excuse to work with two of my favorite musicians; I wrote all of these songs with Ches and John's playing in mind. I also took it as an opportunity to experiment with different compositional forms, as well as varying harmonic, melodic and rhythmic components. The interplay between composition and improvisation is important; even within structured sections there is freedom for each musician to alter the feel, mood or energy of the piece."
Regarded as one of the most versatile and innovative young musicians on the New York scene today, Ms. Halvorson was recently profiled in Guitar Player and the New York Sun and her trio's February 2008 gig at Brooklyn's Tea Lounge was reviewed in the New York Times by Ben Ratliff. It took only a few seconds to see the good sense in the band," he wrote, no matter how abstruse the music can get, it rested on a strong, simple principle of balance and contrast."
Guitar Player's Elliott Sharp adds, While the group uses acoustic bass and clearly lies within the 'jazz' camp, it sounds like no other...dissonant arpeggios melding into pounding odd-meter repetitive grooves, spidery textures becoming cracked melodies, and jazzy vamps fragmenting into vicious free-form interactions, with Halvorson wrenching blistering lines and rude sounds from her guitar."
Halvorson, a stunning talent on the rise, employs a timbre, tone and phrasing on guitar all her own," writes AllAboutJazz.com reviewer Troy Collins. Her angular, repeated refrains explore uncharted territory with a mixture of pliant warmth and prickly assertiveness. From pointillist, acoustic mutterings to hard-scrabble, distorted scrawl, her singular approach is utterly unique."
Critics have called her truly amazing" (Thom Jurek, All Music Guide), consistently one of the most fascinating and satisfying guitarists in town" (Time Out New York) and a thoughtful and increasingly prominent presence on the avant-garde landscape" (Nate Chinen, New York Times). She plays guitar in a way that fractures conventions," declared Steve Dollar in New York Press, restlessly inventing her own paradigms."
A veteran of the ensembles of esteemed saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton, as well as such working groups as Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant and the Taylor Ho Bynum Trio/Sextet, Ms. Halvorson has been active in New York since 2000, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. She has also performed alongside Nels Cline, Tony Malaby, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Oscar Noriega, Andrea Parkins, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp and John Tchicai. In addition to her trio, and duos with Pavone and Shea, she performs regularly in ensembles led by Jason Cady, Brian Chase, Curtis Hasselbring, Tatsuya Nakatani, Ted Reichman and Matthew Welch.
So far this year she has appeared on the Anthony Braxton 12+tet's (Victoriaville) 2007 (Victo Records), the self-titled debut of the Stephen Haynes and Taylor Ho Bynum Double Trio (Engine Records) and Opulence (UgEXPLODE), a live recording with drummer Weasel Walter.