New Music From Mary Halvorson

Posted on Nov 22, 2022
New Music From Mary Halvorson

Nonesuch Records presents Amaryllis, the first of two twin label debut albums (to be followed by Belladonna), from Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson.  The two suites, which Halvorson describes as “modular and interlocking,” were produced and mixed by John Dieterich of DeerhoofAmaryllis is a six-song suite performed by a newly formed sextet of master improvisers, including Halvorson, Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Nick Dunston (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Jacob Garchik (trombone), and Adam O’Farrill (trumpet). The Mivos string quartet joins for three of the songs, making this the largest ensemble for which Halvorson has written to date. The suite showcases Halvorson’s many musical influences from jazz, experimental, new music, and beyond. Halvorson says, “Amaryllis features some of my favorite musicians on the planet. I started writing the music in 2020, when the world slowed and most activities came to a halt, and all I had was my guitar, a pencil, some staff paper, and a computer. The pleasure of imagining what the music might sound like kept me sane during that time and gave me reason to push forward.”

One of New York City’s most in-demand guitarists, over the past decade Halvorson has worked with such diverse musicians as Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Dieterich, Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Jessica Pavone, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot, and John Zorn. She is also part of several collaborative projects, most notably the longstanding trio Thumbscrew with Michael Formanek on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Halvorson has released a series of critically acclaimed albums, from Dragon’s Head (2008), her trio debut featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, expanding to a quintet with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon on Saturn Sings (2010) and Bending Bridges (2012), a septet with tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik on Illusionary Sea (2014), and finally an octet with pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn on Away With You (2016). She also released the solo recording Meltframe (2015), and most recently debuted Code Girl (2018, 2020), a new ensemble featuring vocalist Amirtha Kidambi (singing Halvorson’s own lyrics), trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, saxophonist and vocalist María Grand, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara.

“An unflinching original who has revealed new possibilities within the music.” —New York Times

“During the last decade, Halvorson has reimagined the rules and roles of jazz guitar by pairing a graceful approach to melody with an iron will to warp, corrupt, and subvert it.” Pitchfork

“The most future-seeking guitarist working right now, thinking out the instrument on a level most couldn’t comprehend.” NPR

“[An] unstoppably inventive guitarist and composer” WBGO

Recommended Tracks: Track 1, “Night Shift,” Track 3, “Amaryllis,” Track 5, “Hoodwink”

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Label: Nonesuch Records

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